A Harris County, TX, teenager is alleging police brutality after he claims that he was violently detained by law enforcement simply for mowing a lawn. Now, footage of the encounter has gone viral, and the teen is using the incident as an opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive one for his community.
On July 18, Marlin Gipson and his brothers were mowing lawns in a Huston neighborhood as part of a budding landscaping business. That’s when he claims a police officer approached the group for questioning, telling them simply that they “fit the description.”
“It seemed like it was kind of obvious what we were doing with lawnmowers, weedwhackers and leafblowers,” Gipson explained in a blog post. “But I explained that we were landscaping anyway.”
When the officer asked for Gipson’s ID, the teen explained that he didn’t have it on him, and asked for the officer’s name. It’s at that point the encounter escalated, with the officer reaching for his handcuffs, as Gipson backed away.
“We’re cutting grass, sir. You’re harassing us. We’re putting cards on people’s doors,” Gipson can be heard saying while he films the officer.
“The officer pulled out his taser and placed my two brothers under arrest as I made my way back to our house located in the same neighborhood,” Gipson later said. He continued:
Officers came to my home and kicked my mother’s door in. They handcuffed my 13-year-old sister and two other siblings before coming for me. I was in the restroom upstairs when I heard them kick in the door. I stuck out my hands from the restroom and the officer told me to turn around. When I did with my hands up he tasered me in my back. He then commanded a K-9 unit to attack. As the dog’s teeth snatched at my right armed the officer tasered me again in the back. He then placed me in handcuffs. He stood over me and stomped my back twice and said I shouldn’t have went home.
On Facebook, the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s page has been bombarded with criticism following the incident.
Representatives from Harris County were not immediately available to comment on the incident. I will update this story with their response when it is given.
Gipson, meanwhile, has started a crowdfunding page to pay for both the medical and legal expenses from the arrest, as well as for lost wages from their landscaping business.
For Gipson, however, paying for legal fees and rebuilding his business is only half the story.
“My brothers and I believe we can turn this negative into a positive despite it all,” he explained on his crowdfunding page. “We want to grow and expand our business and teach others about opportunities in entrepreneurship over selling drugs. We want to speak out against injustice and police brutality. We want to be sure the officers involved here are held accountable.”