Yesterday Josh Alper told you about Brandon Backe being arrested at a wedding over the weekend. According to the police report, Brandon resisted arrest and confronted the officers and had to be subdued, along with quite a few other people in attendance at the wedding. Well, it's starting to look like the Galveston police department may have gone a little too far.
According to witness testimony, it was the police who were acting out of line, and now the Galveston police department is launching it's own internal investigation into the incident.
Witnesses said Monday that police needlessly beat, Tasered and pepper-sprayed wedding guests who were trying to comply with police commands during an incident in which officers arrested 10 people, including Backe, at an outdoor bar at the San Luis Hotel on Seawall Boulevard.
Daniel Cole O'Balle, 19, was injured during the incident and flown by helicopter to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. Backe was charged with three counts of assault on a public servant and two counts of retaliation. He was released on $115,000 bond.
Galveston police spokesman Cpt. Walter Braun said the department's office of professional conduct was conducting an internal investigation, although no formal complaints of officer misconduct had been received. "This administration is taking a proactive step," Braun said.
So what exactly happened to Backe? Well, according to one witness, all he did was try and listen to what the cops told him to do, and he got the crap beat out of him for it.
Michael McMillan, 36, of Houston, said he and Backe walked up to see what the commotion was about and saw O'Balle on the ground bleeding, being shocked with a Taser and handcuffed. Police began shouting at them to back up and they complied, he said.
After they backed up as far as they could, McMillan said, officers continued shouting, "and Brandon Backe said, 'Sir, be cool, we're backed up as far as we can go.' "
As soon as Backe spoke, several officers wrestled him to the ground, punching him as he went down, McMillan said.
"A police officer kicks him right in the face," he said.
Coincidentally, the Galveston police department's motto is "To Protect, Serve, and Beat The Hell Out Of You."
Now it's entirely possible that all these witnesses are just friends doing anything they can to protect Backe, but this isn't the first instance involving an athlete and Texas police in which the police reportedly got out of hand. When former Chicago Bears running back, and newest Cincinnati Bengal, Cedric Benson was arrested on his boat earlier this year, witnesses say police needlessly beat him as well.
All charges against Benson were later dropped. You have to wonder if Backe will receive the same fate.