Teens' arrest video sparks outrage against Arlington Police Department

A mother claims her sons were victims of "police brutality" following a heated arrest at an Arlington apartment complex

  • A 16-year-old teen is detained by Arlington police during an incident at the Addison Park Apartments in Arlington
    An Arlington officer detains a 16-year-old teen following an incident at an apartment complex in Arlington
Zack Maxwell

A mother is demanding the termination of an Arlington police officer after a charged incident in which her two teenage boys were arrested.

A video of the incident, which surfaced Wednesday night on Facebook, has already been viewed over 195,000 times.

The incident happened on July 3, when police responded to a reported vehicle burglary at the Addison Park Apartments in Southwest Arlington. According to police, witnesses saw two teenagers breaking into a vehicle.

Promoted by an activist organization called Next Generation Action Network (NGAN), the video starts by showing an officer detaining a 14-year-old teen. The teen’s mother, Latasha Nelson, is heard in the video questioning the officer about her son’s detention.

A video of the incident has been seen more than 195,000 times online.

NGAN claims the teen was arrested and charged with “absolutely no evidence.” But police say the teen matched a description provided by a witness.

Because the video starts right at the detention of the teen, it’s not clear what occurred beforehand. Nelson follows two officers as they escort her son to a cruiser.

Once inside the car, the mother starts asking where her son is being taken. An officer appears to decline her question, instead saying she’s being “uncooperative.”

“Do y’all just constantly have to kill our kids for y’all to sit here and see their life is valuable?” Nelson asks in an audibly distressed tone.

The conversation escalates to the point that one officer signals for backup. At this point, something compelled the officer to turn around and push Nelson’s other son, age 16, to the ground by his head. The video does not show what might have triggered the officer’s response.

The Arlington Voice reached out to the NGAN, which is assisting the family, to learn more about the circumstances of the physical altercation. A reply had not been received by the publishing of this report.

At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Nelson claimed that investigators have contacted her multiple times throughout the week, requesting she turnover the video in exchange for dropping the charges against her sons. Police did not comment on the claim.

“As with any allegation of misconduct, we take this seriously,” a prepared statement from the Department read. “This is a formal investigation and will require time to complete and we ask that our investigators are given the opportunity to review all of the evidence.”

The Department further stated that the video “shows only a portion of what took place, and a thorough investigation is being conducted to obtain all the facts regarding the incident.”

Nelson wants the Department to terminate the officer who became physical with her 16-year-old son. She further requested that the charges against her sons be dropped.

“When you tell me you’re going to take my son somewhere and you don’t let me know…it didn’t have to escalate like that,” Nelson said. “I’m not from here. I don’t know the area. It’s scary.”

The incident has been referred to the Department’s Internal Affairs division for further investigation. No officers have been placed on leave.