Black jogger wrongfully arrested by San Antonio police: ‘I was guilty before proven innocent’
A Black jogger spent two days in jail after San Antonio police believed he was a suspect in an assault incident
A Black jogger in San Antonio was arrested despite not fitting the description of the suspect police were actually looking for.
Mathias Ometu was jogging in bright-colored clothing when police approached and detained him, KSAT reported. The cops believed he was the armed suspect they were in search of following a family dispute on Aug. 25. Bodycam footage that released on Tuesday showed that Ometu did not fit the profile of the man the police sought.
The insurance adjuster exercised his legal right in Texas not to give his name to police after being repeatedly asked. Within minutes, the two cops placed Ometu under arrest and inside a police SUV because his “demeanor became aggressive,” according to SAPD officials. The footage was captured on bystander video.
“I felt bad for the guy, so I kept videotaping it,” San Antonio attorney Victor Maas said, after posting the video to social media.
Ometu was charged with two felony counts of assault on an officer and spent two days in jail before he posted a $200K bond. The victim in the initial dispute confirmed that Ometu didn’t assault him and all of the charges against Ometu were dropped.
Darren Smith Jr. was named as the suspect in the assault Ometu was accused of. Smith was arrested Friday for a robbery unrelated to the assault case, KSAT reported.
Ometu held a press conference on Wednesday with his lawyers to share what happened, explaining his refusal to allow the police to take him to the victim’s home for identification.
“Once those doors close on you, you never know when they’re going to open again,” Ometu said.
Ometu also denied kicking or scratching the police officers that detained him but admitted that he was aggravated over the situation.
“I was guilty before proven innocent,” Ometu said.
He added about his time in jail, “I experienced true darkness.”
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus defended the actions of the officers involved. However, he appealed to Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales to drop the charges against Ometu in order to bring healing to the community.
McManus also extended an invitation to Ometu to be a part of the dialogue.
“Both officers felt it important to use this incident as an opportunity for unity and understanding at a time when it is most needed. It is clear that pursuing charges against Mr. Ometu would not bring us closer to our goals of building trust and creating partnerships with our community,” McManus said in a statement.
“We have invited Mr. Ometu to start a dialogue on policing in San Antonio, and that invitation will remain open.”
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