Date of Interaction: April 6, 2015
Police Employees Involved: Officer Owen, Springtown, Texas Police Department
Police Department Contact Information: (817) 220-0828
On April 6th, cops arrested 17-year-old Dylan Waddle for “interfering with an investigation” after officers randomly identified a toy gun in the back seat of a car owned by a friend of Mr. Waddle. Cops were called to a convenience store after a report of guns being seen in the back of a vehicle; guns that were obviously toys.
Waddle was standing outside, watching to make sure the officers didn’t harass his friends and to insure the investigation was conducted appropriately. One of the two officers demanded that he remain inside the adjoining restaurant to the gas station while the investigation was being handled. Waddle claimed he had the legal right to watch the officers pursue their duty and refused to go back inside, at which time Officer Owens lunged toward Mr. Waddle and illegally detained him. Waddle was handcuffed, arrested and spent the night behind bars Monday night, having been charged with “interfering with a police investigation.”
The incident was brought to light later in the week, when WFAA television news, in Dallas-Fort Worth, reported on the story, provoking outrage among locals in the community. When the reporter inquired of Springtown’s police chief whether citizens have the right to watch arrests occurring outdoors, Chief Crowdis admitted the officer may have made a “mistake” by ordering Waddle to go inside.
On Wednesday, April 15th, the arresting officer (Owens) was fired after his unedited bodycam footage was released on YouTube. The police chief said Wednesday that he saw two of the videos himself and fired Owens that afternoon. Subsequently, the dispatch officer was also fired.
It is still unclear, at this time, whether or not the charges against Waddle will be dropped.
Having lived in Springtown for nearly a decade, Officer Owens’ name has popped up in more than one occasion. Sadly, the majority of those conversations were less than flattering. However, the grey area which suggests Officer Owen is a “dirty cop” is a mute point.
Waddle’s wrongful arrest can be best utilized as a learning experience from which we can all benefit. After seeing the video footage, it becomes clear that this young boy knew he was well within the parameters of his legal rights to observe the actions of the officers, at CLOSE RANGE. Officer Owens CLAIMED he had full legal authority to search the vehicle, after spotting what he believed to be a weapon in the vehicle – a weapon which was clearly a TOY upon closer inspection! So was Officer Owen actually working within the legal guidelines by searching the vehicle, once realizing it was a toy? Many additional questions can be raised, as to the officer’s intent and motive behind searching the car to begin with! Not only can “evidence” be planted to create a “desired” outcome, this sort of thing has happened before and will happen again unless citizens become more proactive in understanding their rights!