By Alex Wukman
Over a month has passed since an HPD officer pulled a shotgun on a party being thrown by the Houston Free Thinkers. In that time the story went viral and prompted an internal affairs investigation. At the height of the media coverage Free Press Houston did our due diligence and sent in an open records request to get HPD’s side of the story, they just sent it over. And while the results of the investigation and the final outcome of the court case won’t be known for some time, the initial incident reports created by the officer who arrested Free Thinkers member Derrick Broze seem to go out of their way to portray Broze as the bad guy who turned a simple request to turn the music into something that was bordering on a riot. The non-public Current Information Report filed by officer J.W. Rosemon on January 28 states that a neighbor, Latrona Deaver, called in a noise complaint about the party at 2305 Wheeler.
Rosemon’s report describes Deaver as “a repeat caller” who is “tired of this on going noise problem.” Rosemon also wrote that Deaver felt that the owner of 23065 Wheeler, a man only identified as Mr. McReynolds, was “very rude to her” and wouldn’t “tell the band to turn the music down a little bit.” In a prose voice that seems to bounce between wide-eyed wonderment and overly detailed analysis, Rosemon writes that he was initially dispatched to the party at 9:46 p.m. and when he arrived he found that McReynolds had cordoned off his driveway with “large cargo boxes” to make a “stage area for the band so as not to be visible from the street.”
Rosemon’s goes on to state that between the “stage area” and the street there were about 40 to 50 people and that they were “causing a huge noise disturbance.” In perhaps the most description-less description of a party ever put to paper Rosemon says that once he entered the “stage area” he found “a live band with drumsets, guitars and large speakers” and that “the crowd also had an open camp fire in the stage area.” He mentions that “the crowd shouted out upon my arrival ‘here come the haters,’” and that the patrons “attitude was very hostile towards the police presence.” Rosemon writes that once he entered the party “most of the citizens at the party began to pull out their camera phones to record our activity” and said that the police “have no right to be there.”
Rosemon’s report goes on to say that he spoke with McReynolds and “settled the scene” by having the band “dis-assemble.” By 9:57 p.m. Rosemon felt that the issue had been addressed and cleared the call by tagging it “Settled at Scene” before leaving to continue his patrol. The report states that about 15 minutes later, 10:12 p.m., a second officer, Sgt. Jackson, to “see what was going on” and to see if the band and McReynolds had complied with Rosemon’s order and the city ordinance. Upon arriving at the party Sgt. Jackson immediately requested backup prompting Rosemon to do a u-turn.
Rosemon writes that once returning to the party he and Sgt. Jackson spoke with McReynolds and Broze, whom Rosemon identifies as “the band leader.” According to the report McReynolds was “very compliant” with Jackson and Rosemon’s requests and questions while Broze “felt we had no reason to shut their band down since it was not midnight.” Rosemon describes Broze “as very aggravated” and “raising his voice very loudly, making a scene causing the crowd to surround us.” According to Rosemon’s report, while Broze was allegedly shouting at him and causing the crowd to turn around the third HPD officer, Officer Crawford, arrived on the scene.
Rosemon writes that Crawford asked Broze for identification and Broze “stated that he does not have one because it was stolen.” However, Broze’s version of events differs pretty wildly from HPD’s record on this point. In a written statement, available here, Broze writes that HPD asked for his ID only after “aeveral officers began looking around the private property of the compound” and he “inquired if they had a warrant to be doing so.” While Rosemon alleges that Broze said he wasn’t carrying ID because he claimed it was stolen Broze states that he “informed the officer I was not operating a motor vehicle and therefore was not carrying ID.” Both Broze and HPD agree that Broze he told the police officers his name and birthdate, however in HPD’s version Broze “blurted his name and birthday out really fast in a manner which we could not make out.” Broze goes on to say that after offering his full name and birth date he “made it clear to the officers I was not failing to identify myself.”
HPD then says that Broze “refused to repeat himself and became very agitated” that he was being questioned. The report alleges that Crawford attempted to disarm the situation by asking Broze to lower his voice and to “stop trying to get a rise out of the crowd.” Rosemon goes on to say that Broze started “to walk up on us in an aggressive manner.” At this point the differences between Rosemon’s version of events and Broze’s become so massive that it’s best just to put them both up without comment or analysis.
Officer Crawford then asked Derrick to walk to the patrol car so he could run his name to the person’s check and Derrick said “No. I already told y’all my information.” Derrick would not comply with any of officers direct order therefore Officer Crawford escorted Derrick outside of stage area and I assisted him in doing so. Derrick was then placed under arrest for failure to obey a lawful order.
The same officer asked me to come with him to his car, and I asked if I was being detained. Upon being told I was not being detained I told him I would remain where I was. He then grabbed me by the arm and attempted to pull me to his car. I stepped back and asked why I was being assaulted. I informed the officer that I respected him but was not going anywhere. He then grabbed me and dragged me out the back to the street and pushed me to the backside of the car.
The report alleges that while Broze was at the patrol car he continued shouting out to the crowd, which was now following the trio into the street. “Derrick shouted ‘this is a police state’ and the crowd would repeat ‘this is a police state.’ This then caused the crowd to become unruly,” writes Rosemon before stating that it was this shouting and unruly behavior that required a fourth officer “to come to the scene to help clear the crowd.” In Broze’s statement “the crowd become upset at seeing someone from the community taken away without being told why, essentially kidnapping a citizen off private property.”
In Rosemon’s account after arriving on the scene Officer Penrod “noticed how intense the crowd was getting so he pulled a out his shot-gun not pointing it anyone, but in the air and racked a round into the chamber and this helped move the crowd onto the sidewalk for a few moments.” Rosemon’s account fails to mention the arrest of Micah Jackson who, according to Broze, was grabbed from behind by Penrod and told “you’re freedom ends tonight.”
“As he swung Mr. Jackson around other officers joined in and slammed him to the back of the police car I was being held in. I watched his face slam on the window. The officers then handcuffed him and put him in the back of another car telling him he was being charged with resisting arrest. He inquired as to what the offense was, and he was also told he was attempting to incite a riot,” writes Broze. Rosemon states that after taking Broze into custody “the crowd continued to surround us trying to get a rise out of us while they were still recording our every move” which prompted night shift commander Lt. Nguyen to come to the scene.
In Rosemon’s account McReynolds “was the only one the crowd would listen to and was able to calm the crowd down.” Broze’s account ends with a statement that “this is not the kind of interaction the Houston Free Thinkers are seeking from law enforcement or the city, but we have often interacted with officers overstepping their bounds and restricting freedom” while Rosemon’s account ends with an alleged quote from Broze in which he supposedly describes the mission of Houston Free Thinkers by saying “our whole purpose is to bring awareness to people as well as police that the government is trying to create a police state.”