A Texas councilman who accused one of his hometown's officers of racial profiling has walked back his comments after watching the bodycam video of the traffic stop that led to his arrest, The Dallas Morning News reported.
La'Shadion Shemwell, a black councilman in McKinney and activist against police brutality, was allegedly driving 20 mph over the speed limit, but he claimed the officer pulled him over Tuesday evening for "being black with dreadlocks."
“He said he pulled me over because I was going 55 miles an hour on Highway 5 and it just didn’t add up to me,” Shemwell told KTVT-TV Wednesday.
After watching a video of the incident, the 31-year-old Shemwell admitted his behavior was unwarranted. Shemwell became the second black council member to be elected in McKinney when he won his seat last year.
"I could have handled it differently," Shemwell told the Morning News. "When you're used to being pulled over. And you're used to being pulled over for no reason ... then I was defensive from the very beginning."
McKinney police Officer K. Wilkerson told Shemwell he stopped him for speeding.
“He asked for my identification, but I made a statement like, ‘You know who I am, You know who I am. What is this all about? What’s going on here?'” Shemwell told KTVT.
Wilkerson wrote the councilman a ticket for speeding and another for not changing the address on his driver's license to reflect his current address.
Shemwell repeatedly refused to sign the tickets, which led to his arrest.
He claimed he couldn't read the citations below the signature line on the electronic device and that Wilkenson offered him an "ultimatum."
"You sign this box, or you're going to jail," Shemwell claimed the officer said.
"I was just shocked, and I don't take kindly to threats," Shemwell told KXAS-TV.
After watching the video, Shemwell admitted he was "abrasive" and "argumentative" with the officer.
"I was upset. I'm still upset. I'm still frustrated," Shemwell said. "But do I want to make him out to be a racial profiler? I don't know."
The councilman bonded out of jail Tuesday evening.
What did the mayor say?
McKinney Mayor George Fuller told the Morning News that he "begged" Shemwell not to speak out against the department before viewing the bodycam video.
"That's the responsible thing to do personally, and I also believe he's charged with the responsibility for the city," Fuller said, adding that he has watched the video.
The officer acted professionally and "by the book," according to the mayor.
"If he's going to say something that has a negative impact on the city, make sure it's correct," Fuller added.
Were the officer's actions legal?
Lawyer and former McKinney Officer Pete Schulte said Wilkerson did nothing wrong and followed routine procedure.
"If you give the police any reason to believe that you're not going to take care of your business, then things happen, you get arrested," Schulte said.
How a person responds to and treats an officer matters, he added.
Does Shemwell have any prior arrests?
Police charged Shemwell with disorderly conduct/displaying a weapon in a threatening manner and resisting arrest in 2016 during a protest over the killing of an unarmed black suspect, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He had refused to give up his AR-15, which led to his arrest.
A jury later acquitted him.