A Texas woman was the victim of a terrifying incident involving one of the officers from her small town’s police force when he tackled her to the ground simply for walking down the wrong side of the road.
Melissa Bonnette said that she couldn’t tell whether or not the man who rode up alongside of her while she was out for her morning stroll was actually a police officer or if he was someone impersonating one. She said that while his motorcycle had familiar markings on it, and his uniform had all of the right patches, his behavior wasn’t typical of how a cop’s should be and it made her suspicious.
The thing that stuck out most is that he asked her if she lived in the area in which she was walking.
“I thought that maybe he was flirting,” Bonnette said. “I just thought it was odd, I thought it was odd. I wasn’t really sure but I felt uncomfortable because there wasn’t anyone around.”
A seemingly natural reaction for a woman to have to a strange man who randomly approaches her, which is why she decided it was a good idea to play it safe and continue walking but the man kept following her.
“He just crept along beside me on his motorcycle and he started saying, ‘Hey ma’am! I want to talk to you. Hey stop, ma’am! I want to talk to you.’ Then my anxiety rose even higher,” she told the local news station, KYTX.
Rather than taking the risk of being raped or something even worse the woman decided to take off jogging to get away. The officer then jumped off of his motorcycle and gave chase on foot, at which point he tackled her to the ground and handcuffed her while she was begging him to stop what he was doing.
“I just was crying and I was saying ‘Please sir, please sir. Why are you doing this?’ It was like I was in a nightmare. I hadn’t done anything wrong,” she said.
The chief of the Whitehouse Police, Craig Shelton, said that he doesn’t think that officer Shawn Johnson was in the wrong so they won’t be immediately punishing him, but that they will be reviewing the dash cam footage and investigating the incident.
Shelton said that “Normally if a police officer pulls up, in my opinion, it’s awful odd for somebody just to take off and not want to speak to the police officer.”
Then he claimed that since his officer had a lawful reason to be harassing the woman in the first place that he was justified in his actions. The “lawful” reason for the officer to be there, according to Shelton, was that she was walking down the wrong side of the road.
In Shelton’s opinion, that was breaking the law and an offense that was bad enough to warrant being thrown to the ground by a man whose duty is to “protect and serve.” Shelton explained that “By law, you have to be to the far left facing oncoming traffic.”
“He told her I believe twice to quit resisting and she wouldn’t — she continued to resist,” he said. “So, he put her on the ground.”
Bonnette has now been traumatized to the point she may move out of the town out of fear that a similar incident may occur in the future. He also said that she’s no longer going to go out for a walk, something she says she loves to do.
“I’m not going to be able to walk anymore, and that’s sad because I enjoy walking every day. But I’m terrified. It was just so traumatic.”