Bellmead Police Substation at Wal-Mart
Bellmead, Texas – Like the “Man With No Eyes,” the fabled Florida road camp gun guard in the movie classic, “Cool Hand Luke,” security can see out. You can’t see in.
Loss prevention confrontations at the Wal-Mart Super Center take place in a small office behind mirrored glass, situated just off the entry vestibule shielded by automatic sliding exit doors leading from the food market to the parking lot.
When store security agents detained two cousins on Tuesday, January 6, for allegedly trying to beat the checkout scanner out of the price of some merchandise, they took them into the Police Substation through a right-hand door that swings out. There, the older girl, a woman of 22, snuck a prohibited phone call out to relatives, the parents of a 15-year-old juvenile whose phone reportedly didn’t work.
As sworn police officers of the Bellmead force arrived a few minutes after 9 p.m. Wal-Mart security agents told the girl to put her phone in her pocket. She asked why. They said it was for the protection of the police officers. She refused; an officer snatched the phone out of her hand, and she responded with an unprintable imprecation.
Police are said to have put her in a stress position by placing fingers in her nostrils and pulling back toward her brow and forehead from the rear as another officer placed a hand over her mouth. Unable to breathe, according to her parents who arrived moments later, about 10 to 15 minutes after 9 p.m., she “kicked out” with her feet and struck the policeman in front of her. According to her father, Victor Pool, the officers had no intention of charging her with a jailable offense until that moment. Their plan was to issue a written Juvenile Court summons and release her to her parents’ custody.
When he and his wife Melissa arrived, Pool said, the child was reportedly bleeding from her nose after police officers “slammed” her head into a desk top. She has been charged with a felony offense, among others, of assault of a police officer, her parents said.
Those facts will be the subject of a “first page” offense and “first page” arrest report containing what is referred to in case law pertaining to the Texas Open Records Act as “police blotter information.” We have applied to Bellmead Police Chief Lydia Alvarado for those reports and an arrest affidavit filed with the Magistrate who informed the defendants of the charges leveled against them.
We of The Legendary have received much criticism for only “telling one side of the story” in Facebook comments nationwide. Since it was first placed, in the early morning hours of Friday, January 9, the story has received better than 35,000 page views nationwide.
Chief Lydia Alvarado received in her absence an information request the same day, but was unable to respond because she was reportedly ill, absent from work, as well as the records clerk who processes all such requests. Governments have 10 business days in which to reach a decision of whether to seek an opinion of the Texas Attorney General’s Office in the matter of withholding information excepted by the Act. Information that is not “excepted” is to be released “promptly,” according to the law. We have requested no information that is excepted by law.
It is not our first experience with requesting information from the Chief. She responded reluctantly to a request on September 18, 2012, for booking information and arrest affidavits on an accused offender who failed to register as a convicted sex offender and a man charged with family violence following a domestic disturbance in which he hit his wife in the face with his elbow, rendering her unable to open her eye. Both had been released by the judge following their arrests earlier in the summer on personal recognizance bonds.
We have prepared an audio-visual presentation on the resulting dispute that arose when R.S. Gates arrived at the police station to receive the reports so requested and attempted to avoid a $4 cash fee for copying by taking a photo of the documents with his cell phone. We have abbreviated the resulting half-hour argument to a comfortable amount of time. One may listen and watch by clicking on the material inserted below: