The Texas City Police Department has announced the termination of the police officer involved in a viral Buc-ee’s traffic stop that sparked controversy in April. The incident had gained widespread attention, and the officer in question has been under investigation since then.
After an extensive evaluation of the events on April 19, Texas City Police Chief Landis Cravens made the decision. In response to Harrell’s termination, Chief of Police Landis Cravens has issued a statement that reads as follows:
As the newly appointed Chief of Police, my first order of business was to take decisive action against Scott Harrell, the officer involved in the recent incident. Effectively immediately, I have indefinitely suspended his employment due to a thorough review of the circumstances. This decision aligns with our unwavering dedication to upholding the highest professionalism, ethics, and community service.
The Texas City Police Department wants to make it clear that a particular individual’s actions do not reflect its officers’ dedication and hard work. The men and women in uniform are committed to upholding the trust and confidence that the community has placed in them, and they take their responsibility to serve and protect seriously.
As a civil service police agency, the Texas City Police Department adheres to strict regulations and policies in all personnel decisions involving non-probationary police officers. These include the Texas Local Government Code 143, the City of Texas City Civil Service Commission Rules and Regulations, the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the TCPD Policy Manual, and the City of Texas City Personnel Policies. Recently, we received a notice from the Texas Municipal Police Association on behalf of Officer Scott Harrell that my decision was being appealed. Rest assured, we are fully committed to vigorously defending this decision to maintain the department’s integrity and transparency, which are essential to meeting the expectations and needs of our community.
We are grateful for your unwavering support as we strive to maintain the mission of our department, which is based on our core values and principles. Your steadfastness motivates us to work even harder to achieve our goals.
Officer Scott Harrell’s body camera recorded a 23-minute traffic stop at the Texas City Buc-ee’s gas station. When the incident occurred, Christopher Shull had pulled over to refuel his vehicle.
Per the surveillance footage, Shull can be seen driving his sleek black sedan into the Buc-ee’s parking area. He passes by a police cruiser, moves through vacant parking spaces, and finally parks his car at the gas pumps.
As captured on the body camera video, Harrell was heard telling Shull that he couldn’t drive through the parking lot in that manner after turning on his emergency lights.
According to the officer serving the Texas City Police Department for four years, he parked and worked on a report in the parking lot when the incident occurred. As a result, he issued a ticket to Shull for violating the traffic control device in the private parking lot.
Harrell expressed concern that the behaviours displayed could result in harm to others. “I feel like you’re going to continue to commit these unsafe behaviours and put people at risk,” Harrell stated.
According to Harrell, Shull was driving at a very high speed.
According to the offence report acquired by KPRC 2 News, Harrell portrayed Shull as aggressive and argumentative. He noted that Shull persisted in challenging the facts of the case.
According to the body camera footage, Harrell expressed his frustration with the situation by stating that it is not enough to admit to making a mistake and promising not to repeat it. He believes engaging in a dialogue and working collaboratively towards finding a solution is essential.
On the video, Harrell places Shull in handcuffs and then escorts him to the back of his police car.
Harrell’s report stated that Shull was detained due to his lack of cooperation.
During the traffic stop, Harrell informed both Shull and another police officer that the driving manner in the parking lot was causing him to almost collide with a white truck.
As Shull sat in the back of the police cruiser, Harrell recounted the recent incident. “You were quite close! I witnessed them slamming on their brakes. You came speeding through the parking lot,” Harrell stated matter-of-factly.
KPRC 2 acquired another surveillance video that sheds new light on the situation. The footage captures the white truck exiting the gas pumps and braking before completing a left turn. Interestingly, the brake lights go off before the car crosses paths with Shull.
According to Shull, the individual who accused him of wrongdoing was not telling the truth. Shull believes this person had ulterior motives and wanted to use their position of authority to harm him. He feels that the accusations were baseless and without merit and that the truth is that he was unfairly targeted.
As seen in the footage from the body camera, Harrell told Shull that he felt compelled to see the confrontation through to the end since he was convinced that Shull would go to the police station and report him if he didn’t.
According to Harrell, the complaint is unlikely to have any effect since he has captured everything on video. He emphasized that he never engages in conversations with anyone in public unless his camera is turned on.
According to the narrative report written by Harrell, his initial plan was to apprehend the person responsible for the offence. However, another officer from Texas City arrived at the scene during the 23-minute traffic stop and provided a citation book to issue a ticket instead. As a result, Harrell released the person from the back of the car and removed the handcuffs.
The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement has confirmed that Harrell’s peace officer license is not facing any disciplinary action or case.
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