A Corpus Christi Police officer was formally disciplined after dash cam footage showed he asked a woman to delete cellphone video of her being placed in a chokehold by a county official, Chief Floyd Simpson said.
“I’m actually glad she didn’t delete the video,” Simpson said Tuesday of the footage posted by the woman last month that has reached more than 70,000 views. “It gives us an opportunity to make sure everyone understand our policies.”
Senior Officer Jerry Lockhart’s personnel file will now reflect the incident, which Simpson said was brought to his attention by news reports with statements from the woman, Lanessa Espinosa.
“I was ... placed in handcuffs and put into the cop car,” Espinosa told the Caller-Times in a Facebook message Monday. “I was told I was free to go and to delete the video. I pretended to delete the videos so I would be released.”
The county official, who police said was a Nueces County District Attorney’s Office investigator, was patrolling the restaurant off duty.
District Attorney Mark Skurka said Tuesday his office also is “looking into the incident.”
Simpson said after viewing the entire dash cam video it was discovered that Lockhart did request that the video be deleted.
Lockhart took responsibility for the statement he made on the video and was formally disciplined, Simpson said.
He and the county official were investigating a fight involving 10 people Aug. 16 at a Whataburger in the 1100 block of Waldron Road.
In the cellphone footage Espinosa is heard saying she “plead(s) the fifth” after Lockhart says “I want to know who you are so I’m requesting your ID. You fail to ID, I’m going to take you into jail. That’s the law.”
The county officer restrained Espinosa using a chokehold while Lockhart handcuffed her on suspicion of interfering with public duties, according to a Corpus Christi police statement released Monday.
“The officer is talking about failure to ID but his actions are dealing with the fight,” Simpson said. She was not arrested.
“Our officer preformed the way I wanted him to perform except ‘I’m going to arrest you if you don’t give me the ID’ ... and the piece about deleting the video,” Simpson said.
Simpson said he plans to send a department memo Wednesday citing state law on identification.
“A person commits an offense if he intentionally refuses to give his name, residence address, or date of birth to a peace officer who has lawfully arrested the person and requested the information,” according to the Texas Penal Code.