LAMPASAS — Dash-cam and body camera video released by the Lampasas County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday show the moment a deputy brought a Copperas Cove man to the ground during an arrest — in a chokehold, followed by at least eight successive strikes.
“Get out or I’m going to break your window,” said Deputy Logan Jones, deploying an expandable police baton and holding it over his shoulder as he talked to 18-year-old Quinton Elderidge Cruce, who refused several times to exit a Ford Mustang on May 25 in the 100 block of East North Avenue in Lampasas.
“What is wrong with you?” Jones said. “You ever been stopped before? You ever gone to jail before? Well, you’re going again, buddy, get out.”
After calling Cruce “ridiculous” and “childish,” the deputy asked Sydney Joy, 17, one of two passengers in the vehicle, to exit; she complied.
Gage Neely Blackwell, 18, of Lampasas, also left the car.
“I can smell the alcohol on you already,” Deputy Jones told Cruce, trying to handcuff him at the rear of the vehicle.
“Hey, time out, dude,” Cruce said, attempting to turn around to talk to Jones.
The deputy wrapped his right arm around Cruce’s neck, bringing him to the ground, the video shows.
Cruce pleaded for someone to address a finger injury, but just as he finished the sentence, Jones leaned into Cruce with a strike to the head. At least eight strikes are seen.
“Can, please, someone get this dude off me? I’ll (inaudible) someone else arrest me,” Cruce said.
The video was released through an open records request.
In a sworn statement, Jones said Cruce had struck him with an elbow and kicked several times during the arrest, but said it was only then that Jones used forced to gain control.
On the ride to the Lampasas County Jail, the deputy is heard on video discussing the arrest with Cruce, who consistently denied striking first.
“You don’t remember any of this?” Jones asked Cruce in a squad car.
“I do remember it,” Cruce said. “You literally turned me around, took me to the ground and started punching me in the face.”
“That’s because you punched me first, you idiot,” Jones said. “That’s why you were on the ground. Do you remember this? You punched me in the chest.”
Toward the end of the dash-cam video, Jones again told Cruce he was punched in the chest.
“Take him. I’m through with that son of a b—,” Jones told someone off camera.
No charges have been filed against Cruce or Blackwell, whose arrests were partially captured on a friend’s cellphone video last month and caused a stir online.
Both Cruce and Blackwell are free on bail, and no complaint — the legal document that formally charges a suspect — exists against either at the Lampasas County District Clerk’s Office.
Blackwell is accused in a separate affidavit of striking the lip of Lampasas Police Officer Joshua Watson, who also responded.
Killeen-area attorney James Stapler, of Corbin & Associates, is representing Cruce.
Cruce graduated from Copperas Cove High School that night.
Deputy Jones is on paid leave during the investigation, which is standard procedure, a news release said.
Bail set for Cruce totals $11,000, according to the sheriff’s department, and includes: assault on a public servant ($5,000 bail), a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison; resisting arrest ($2,000), a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail; interference with public duties ($2,000), a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail; and driving while intoxicated ($2,000), which ranges in punishment depending on severity.
Bail set for Blackwell totals $4,700, and includes: assault of a public servant ($2,500 bail), resisting arrest ($1,000), interfering with public duties ($1,000) and underage drinking ($200).
The Texas Rangers are investigating the incident.