Naked City

More on Sixth Street Bust

Mehcad Brooks is still waiting to hear when (or, perhaps, if) he will be prosecuted for "resisting arrest" during the early morning hours of Dec. 31 on the 400 block of East Sixth Street, while questions remain about the level of force that arresting APD Officer Joshua Marquez used to arrest Brooks. According to Marquez, Brooks refused to return to the curb on Sixth Street after being asked repeatedly to do so by officers trying to clear the street in preparation for reopening it to vehicular traffic. In his arrest affidavit, Marquez wrote that Brooks became verbally aggressive and fought officers trying to subdue him, forcing Marquez to use both his Taser and pepper spray to get Brooks in cuffs. Brooks' attorney, Gary Bledsoe, director of the state chapter of the NAACP and Brooks' stepfather, contends that Marquez's account is pure fiction – and has interviewed numerous witnesses who he says confirm Brooks' account of what led up to the arrest. According to Bledsoe, Brooks was standing near the curb talking on his cell phone when officers approached him, and without waiting for him to finish his call so that he could hear what they were saying, became physically aggressive with him – first by using a horse to push him back, then through Marquez's unprovoked pepper spray and Taser frenzy, during which he struck Brooks – along with several of his fellow officers – several times before Brooks' arrest.

Marquez's service record may serve to help Bledsoe's case. On Feb. 4, Marquez completed a 30-day suspension handed him by Chief Stan Knee for using force considered inconsistent "with departmental policy and … training" last summer. According to the civil service disciplinary memo, Marquez whacked a suspected car burglar in the head with his expandable baton, which cut the left side of the supect's head and landed him in the South Austin Hospital. In the memo, Knee noted that Marquez had been attempting to execute a "brachial stun technique" when he "accidentally" struck the suspect – a technique not endorsed by the department. "The first thing [Marquez] did was hit someone in the head?" Bledsoe asked. "Why didn't he try to hit him in the leg or something, to take [the suspect] down? I guess [Marquez] thinks he's [Star Trek's Dr.] Spock or something."

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Mehcad Brooks, Joshua Marquez, Gary Bledsoe, Stan Knee

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