As Humble police face questions of whether an officer’s takedown of a bar patron was unjustifiably excessive, the department’s bodycam footage, as well as previously-unreleased surveillance video and 911 audio captured on that night, is illustrating a different perspective of the encounter.
In the last week, local media reported on Chris Hanna’s police brutality claim when he was detained outside of a bar on June 24. Hanna, through his attorney, Todd Overstreet, claimed Officer John Cox hit him “almost like an uppercut” with handcuffs in his hand “almost like brass knuckles.”
Cox at the time was responding to reports of a shooting, which Hanna admitted to committing in self-defense after a fight with two “bikers.”
Hanna was then placed into a patrol vehicle, bleeding and later bandaged up. Hanna admitted to not remembering the takedown but said he was conscious as he was held.
The bar surveillance video of the takedown and Hanna’s booking photo, which shows him wrapped up in first-aid dressing, are the evidence Hanna’s lawyer presented in his police brutality claim.
As of last Thursday, Humble police said no official complaint was filed yet in the case.
On Monday, Humble police offered a glimpse of Hanna’s detainment from Officer Cox’s perspective.
In the body camera footage, which gives audio of the incident, Hanna tells Cox that he opened fire after a couple of bikers started fighting with him using a chain. Hanna claims that the fight stemmed from “seeing something he shouldn’t have seen.”
Hanna also admits to drinking before the confrontation.
Hanna then shows Cox where he dropped his handgun and where he fired the two shots, each at different parts of the parking lot.
The bikers who were involved were not present throughout the questioning.
In this part of the exchange, Hanna is forward and cooperative albeit slightly slurring, without showing any signs of combativeness.
Cox then directs Hanna to sit and wait while he talks to a woman in a nearby car, who informs the officer that Hanna pointed a gun at her friend.
Cox then goes over to Hanna and explains that he’s being detained. This is what would be the starting point of the widely-circulated surveillance camera footage.
Cox: “I’m going to go ahead and detain you.”
Hanna, while standing and with hands up: “No, no, no, no. Am I under arrest?”
Cox, with left hand holding Hanna’s right wrist: “I’m going to detain you. Settle down.”
Cox then appears to push Hanna, with Hanna’s head hitting the ground.
The officer then warns Hanna to settle as Hanna asked again if he was under arrest.
“I’m not resisting,” Hanna screams as his hands are placed behind his back and another officer assists. “I didn’t do anything!”
Cox: “I told you to turn around, son.”
Hanna: “All I did was ask a question … What am I doing wrong?”
Cox then explains that he’s detaining Hanna “for my safety,” as Hanna is placed in the patrol unit.
Police statement after bodycam footage released
Humble police Chief Ken Theis provided an update on where the case stands within the department:
The Humble Police Department is conducting an internal investigation of the incident, Officer Cox remains on current duty assignment at this time. The Humble Police Department has no additional statement.
In an earlier statement, Theis said Hanna’s injuries came from the fight with the other men. That statement, in full, reads:
“On June 24, 2022, at around 2:30 a.m., Officer John Cox responded to reports of a disturbance at a local bar. Upon arrival, Officer Cox confronted apparently intoxicated man in the parking lot who claimed to have been in a physical altercation with what he described as ‘two bikers’ who began ‘punching (him) in the face.’
The suspect had obvious injuries to his face and head. The suspect then admitted to firing a firearm at least twice at the two men with whom he was fighting. After securing the firearm, Officer Cox moved to detain the suspect, at which point the suspect backed away from the Officer and refused to turn around and put his hands behind his back. Knowing the suspect had admitted to possessing and firing a firearm earlier in the evening, once the suspect continued to attempt to put space between himself and Officer Cox, the Officer took the suspect down onto a patch of grass and handcuffed him without further incident.
At no time did the Officer strike the suspect, and it was determined the injuries suffered by the suspect were caused solely by the altercation in which he was involved prior to Officer Cox’s arrival. Officer Cox then spoke to a female witness who stated the suspect also pointed his firearm at her, placing her in fear for her life, after he fired at the two males on the motorcycles. The suspect was charged with aggravated assault based on him threatening serious bodily injury against the female witness by pointing a firearm in her direction and self-admitting to firing a firearm at two individuals. We have reviewed the information for the purpose of launching an inquiry into the incident, but have received no formal complaint from the suspect or anyone else.”