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ASK A COP: Police Chief prays for healing for Mr. Floyd’s family

From the desk of Chief of Police Tim Duriso: It saddens me to have to write this message because of the tragic event that led to THE senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

I strongly believe that none of my sworn police officers or staff agrees with the inhuman way Mr. Floyd was treated. I understand this incident didn’t occur in Port Arthur, but that doesn’t make your pain or anger any less. I understand that citizens have a right to PEACEFULLY assemble, march or protest the unfair treatment of citizens by police officers.

I can’t do much for the police department in Minneapolis, but as your police chief, I do not tolerate the mistreatment of ANY person within the city of Port Arthur, no matter their race, sex or religious affiliation. I always have and will continue to hold every police officer at the Port Arthur Police Department to that higher standard that every officer swore to uphold!

I pray for the healing for Mr. Floyd’s family and ALL people who have been affected by his tragic death, or have somehow been affected negatively by law enforcement.

Greg from Port Arthur Asks: I’ve seen videos where police officers have made passengers put their cellphone away and stop recording them. I don’t want to get in any trouble with law enforcement officers if I’m not supposed to be recording a scene. Can citizens legally record a police officer with a cellphone without getting in trouble, and what should I do if I’m ordered to put the cell away?

Answer: This issue is confusing, sometimes on both sides. You are allowed to video law enforcement officers who addressing a citizen while answering a call for service or personally witnessed a crime. Most people on a personal level DO NOT like for anyone to record them without their permission, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be recorded anyway! Greg, you are welcome to record law enforcement officer performing their duties as long as you do not INTERFERE with the law enforcement officers. Make sure you stay back a good distance where the officers are not distracted by you and your actions. Greg it’s NOT illegal to video tape anyone in the state of Texas as long as you’re not trying to use the video in any sexual manner. Now if you’re ordered to put your cellphone up by a police officer, you now have a decision to make. You must decide to refuse an order given to you by a police officer (lawful or unlawful) or refuse to obey the order and be possibly subject to further confrontation by the police officer. Greg, you’re always welcome to contact any officer’s supervisor if you feel you haven’t been treated fairly.

Jack from Groves Asks: When I was growing up in Port Arthur, we used to always use the term “Jay Walking,” that means when someone walking is crossing the roadway in the middle of the block. Is jaywalking still illegal today, because I see so many people crossing the roadway in the middle of the block?

Answer: You have touched a subject that affects all of us even if you don’t drive. At some point daily, we are ALL pedestrians. With the multitude of distractions happening in the driver’s seat, collisions between vehicles and pedestrians only rise. The Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Center stated in 2014 there were 65,000 reports of pedestrian injures. That’s one injury every eight minutes. That same year nearly 5,000 people were killed in pedestrian accidents. Did you know Texas is the 10th most dangerous state for pedestrians in the United States? TXDOT estimates close to 500 fatal pedestrian crashes happen every year in Texas. To answer whether jaywalking is still illegal in Texas, “YES,” jaywalking is still illegal and in my opinion will always be illegal in Texas. Pedestrians have laws that protect them while on the roads, but they should also go above and beyond measures to assure their safety while walking on roadways and in parking lots. I’ve witnessed too many pedestrians walk with oncoming traffic on the roads, as though they have bumpers installed on their bodies. Most drivers take extra precautions when it pertains to pedestrians, even if the pedestrian is at fault crossing the road. Think about what happens when one vehicle damages another vehicle in a collision, so you can imagine what happens to a human body versus a vehicle. Cross the roads only at designated areas!

Join Officer Rickey Antoine for Ask A Cop Live on KSAP 96.9 FM “The Breeze” every Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. as Antoine discusses the newly released Ask A Cop article. Tune in via internet at ksapthebreeze.org. Call in your question at 409-982-0247. Email questions to Rickey.Antoine@portarthurtx.gov, call 409-983-8673  or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you happen to see me in public you can Ask A Cop!