Mathias Ometu, a Black jogger is speaking out about his arrest and the treatment he received by the San Antonio Police Department.
According to CNN, police stopped Ometu, 33, while searching for a suspect related to a domestic violence call, in an incident that resulted in Ometu being “placed in handcuffs aggressively” and shoved into a police vehicle.
“I was told to calm down, but there is nothing calm about placing an innocent man in the back of a police vehicle,” Ometu said Wednesday during a press conference.
Ometu believes that he was targeted and that he was assumed “guilty before proven innocent.”
Officers claimed that they had “reasonable suspicion” to believe that Ometu “matched the description of an alleged strangulation family violence incident,” according to a police report.
Ometu, police challenged, became “aggressive” and refused to give his name or date of birth and then also refused to get into the police vehicle.
Witnesses caught the interaction on video, which shows a calm Ometu handcuffed and standing next to the police vehicle for some time, before the two officers start to push Ometu into the vehicle.
A struggle ensues as Ometu is heard screaming, “You’re choking me.”
Ometu was accused of kicking two officers and hitting one in the face during the incident. He faced two charges of assault on a peace officer, but on Tuesday those charges were dismissed by Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales, who claimed that the officers requested the dismissal as well.
“After reviewing all the evidence as well as considering all the facts and circumstances, I have decided that the just outcome is the dismissal of all charges against Mr. Ometu,” Gonzales said in a press release. “It is important to note the officers involved in this case have requested dismissal as well. Neither officer wishes to have him incur any future consequences are a result of this incident.”
“This case is one of competing interests. It is the officer’s duty to investigate and detain a person of interest that may be a suspect in a crime versus a citizen’s right not to disclose their identification where no arrest has been made. In this case, the officers did have a description that led them to believe that Mr. Ometu may have been the suspect they were seeking. However, Mr. Ometu was not that person and did not have an obligation to identify himself or make a statement. Ultimately, the officers agree that dismissal is in the interest of justice,” Gonzales added.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus also issued a statement, noting that “both officers wish that things had turned out different, given Mr. Ometu turned out not to be the suspect.”
Ometu noted that he never intentially kicked, scratched or harm any officer.
He also says that he still feels pain in his wrists from the way the handcuffs were placed on him. He was detained for two days, adding that the incident left him feeling “violated.”
“I experienced true darkness during this period of isolation,” Ometu said. “I thought about my job, what people thought of, what people would think of me, my record. Thousands of thoughts flew into my head, each gaining momentum of completely breaking me.”
Thankfully Ometu is now free and the charges have been dismissed, but he is still looking for justice for the way he was treated.
“I was treated unfairly, and that has to be addressed,” Ometu said, according to KSAT. “I was physically, emotionally and mentally harmed, and that has to be addressed.”