1.30.2012

Houston Black woman alleges HPD officers beat her for filming them

Annika Lewis (KHOU video screenshot)
On Sunday, January 29, Deric Muhammad of the Nation of Islam's Ministry of Justice called for an emergency press conference because a Black woman is alleging that White HPD officers brutally beat her.

According to the press release Deric Muhammad sent out: "Annika Lewis and her husband Sebastian Prevot are college students taking a break from school to take care of their family. They are the parents of three children. On Friday, January 27th, at approximately 2:30am, Annika was awakened by sirens and loud screaming. She looked out her window and saw about five police patrol cars and several Caucasian Officers beating and kicking her husband (according to Mrs. Lewis). After identifying herself to the officers as his wife, she questioned why the officers were physically assaulting him. The officer explained that her husband was being arrested but could not explain why they were STILL viciously kicking him after he’d already been handcuffed.

"Note: In a townhall meeting on Thursday, Jan. 26, Deric Muhammad instructed residents to begin recording police work. This was said in the presence of an HPD Asst. Chief who assured Mr. Muhammad it was perfectly legal. Annika did, just that. She went back into the house and grabbed her cell phone and began recording footage of the excessive force and abuse (which is her first Amendment Right). She was neither harming nor interfering with the arrest. One of the officers proceeded to grab Annika (who is 4 ’11 and only weighs 103 lbs.) by her hand twisting it behind her back, forcing the phone from her hand. “Didn’t I tell you to put that f**king phone up!” the officer taunted. Another officer grabbed her by her hair pushing her head toward the ground while another officer hit her in the back. When she began screaming, in hopes the neighbors would hear her, one of the officers said “shut the fu** up and punched her in her face several times. She was cuffed and thrown in the backseat of the squad car. They searched her home without consent, asking her about her children who were inside the home. They threatened to take her to jail and call CPS to come and get her children. When the officer finally let her out go he told her that her cell phone was inside the home on her dryer and that she had better not touch it until the officers had left the scene. Afraid, she complied. Once the officers left she grabbed her phone from the dryer to retrieve the recorded footage, but she noticed that the SD Card (that stores video footage) had been removed by one of the officers. The phone display was also cracked. Mrs. Lewis suffered a busted lip, swellings, contusions and bruising from the beating she took from the male officers. She was hospitalized and released. She did take pictures of her injuries. According to Annika, her husband said he was beaten so severely that he had to have part of his ear stitched back on. This incident takes place only one day after a Community Townhall meeting in Northeast Houston about this type of police brutality and only six days before a scheduled meeting between community leaders and Houston Police Department Chief, Charles McClelland."

It will be interesting to see how this unravels. According to law officials, the couple has yet to formally file a complaint. Watch coverage of the press conference in the KHOU video.

Related Links:
Activists rally behind couple's HPD brutality allegations