Harker Heights Police Officer Accused of Brutality
The following article is not intended to express anti-law enforcement sentiment. The troubling social media claims were brought to our attention by dozens of listeners, and we believe it was important to report what was being said and the police response to the rumors and allegations.
The Law Office of Robert M. McCabe has called for attorney Lee Merritt to retract statements he recently made concerning this case (see below) lest he face a lawsuit for defamation.
At a press briefing Tuesday, Harker Heights Police Chief Mike Gentry responded to the allegations and presented footage to shine light on what happened.
According to an arrest affidavit obtained by KXXV-TV, an officer responded to a disturbance call from the 800 block of West Central Texas Expressway, where he found Leah Dure parked in an ambulance bay. The vehicle in which she was seated was not registered to her, nor did she have a driver's license.
When the officer attempted to remove Dure, she reportedly moved to the passenger seat and refused to cooperate. She was eventually removed and arrested for public intoxication.
According to the affidavit, Dure was uncooperative and confrontational, attempting to grab the officer and his body camera. She was placed in a holding cell until pending her cooperation.
Harker Heights and Killeen police have responded to allegations circulating on social media that an officer displayed brutal behavior while arresting a woman on New Year's Eve.
According to posts to Facebook, a young woman named Leah Dure was asleep in the passenger seat of a car when a Harker Heights police officer allegedly forced her from the vehicle and slammed her to the ground, accusing her of driving under the influence.
Attorney Lee Merritt, who mistakenly cited the Killeen Police Department in his initial Facebook post, provided further details of the alleged incident Friday evening.
According to Merritt, Leah had attended a New Year's Eve party with her boyfriend, and she had been drinking. When her boyfriend's eye was injured, Leah rode with him to a local emergency room and fell asleep in the car while he went inside for treatment.
Merritt alleges that Leah woke up when a while male officer she identified as Officer Wood dragging her from the car and "banging her face into the concrete while accusing her of DUI".
"She was taken to jail and was further physically assaulted by the officer she identified by his badge as Officer Wood as she tried to explain she was not driving, she doesn’t know how to drive, this was not her car," Merritt wrote. "Leah was not charged with DUI. She was instead mis-charged with public intoxication in a bizarre attempt to justify her unlawful arrest."
Merritt has called for the officer in question to be terminated and charged with a crime.
Both the Killeen and Harker Heights police departments have responded to the allegations via Facebook. Both departments are aware of the allegations and say the incident is under investigation.
"The Killeen Police Department and Harker Heights Police Department are aware of the allegation surrounding the arrest of a woman named Leah referenced in social media posts," the KPD statement reads."The situation is currently being investigated. The facts surrounding the arrest are under review."
The Harker Heights Police Department is aware of the incident that has been referenced by some in social media," an HHPD spokesperson wrote."It was reported to the Department by the complainant and it is currently under review, which takes some time to complete. Remember that not all information posted in social media is accurate and caution is encouraged for that reason."