The police chief stated that there was an internal investigation, which found that his officers did nothing wrong. The advisory action board that made that determination was made up of seven civilians and seven police officers. If I were on that board, I would have ruled against the cops after seeing the dash cam video of the incident.
Seventy-year-old Thomas Mathieu is a diabetic. One night, he felt like he was about to have a low blood sugar episode, and because he was concerned for drivers around him, he stopped in a turn lane as soon as he could and passed out at the wheel. That was the last thing he remembered. The next thing he knew, his face was in the ground.
Police were called to the scene. News 4 San Antonio reported what happened next:
The officers arrived to find Mathieu slumped over the steering wheel, and told him three times to step out of the vehicle. Mathieu, who says he was not conscious at this point, refused to get out of the car and a struggle began. The officer punched Mathieu several times to get him to comply. In the officer’s report, he wrote that he struck Mathieu because he thought he was reaching for the car shifter to drive off. The officer said he feared the car might injure him or hit other vehicles, so he continued to punch Mathieu in the head. After about 30 seconds, the two officers pulled Mathieu out onto the roadway. But the struggle continued as they try to turn him over. During the incident, Mathieu can be heard, crying out as officers threatened to tase him. The officers finally gain control over Mathieu, just out of view of the camera, and it’s clear they believe they are dealing with a person who is under the influence of alcohol.
The dash cam video can be seen here:
When a civilian is unconscious and unresponsive, police take that as “refusing” to comply and “resisting arrest.” The only proper response to that is to punch the person in the face repeatedly and shove his face into the ground. Then maybe he’ll learn not to be so diabetic next time.