Teen arrested for riding bicycle without reflectors, mother outraged

A Harlingen teenager was jailed after police arrested him for riding his bike without reflectors or lighting.

His mother is outraged with what she said was a petty arrest.

The mother of 18 year old Ricardo Walter said she feels her son should have been given a citation for what she believes is a petty offense.

However, Harlingen police say the teen broke the law, and they are just doing their job.

Ruby Polanco is frustrated with the Harlingen Police Department.

"Last night he went to his girlfriend TMs house and they pulled him over because he didn TMt have safety lights and they arrested him," said Walter TMs mother Ruby Polanco.

Polanco says it TMs petty. She thinks her son, Ricardo Walter, should have been given a citation -not thrown in jail.

"He TMs not high, he TMs not drunk, I don TMt see why they are constantly on him. I know there are a lot of thieves out there stealing bikes and stuff, go look for them| you are targeting the wrong person," said Polanco.

Polanco told Action 4 News officers are profiling her son, which she feels is unfair, "He's trying to do good he's 18. He's trying to get back into school."

We took Polanco's concerns to Harlingen Police Sgt. Dave Osborne who said this isn't the case.

"It TMs not profiling when someone proclaims to the officer to be a gang member," said Osborne.

We asked Polanco if her son is affiliated with a gang and although she didn't deny it, she said that's not a reason for police to follow his every move.

Sgt. Osborne says while Harlingen Police Department has no tolerance for gangs, Walter was arrested because he was posing a danger to the public - not for gang activity.

According to state law, someone riding a bicycle at night, must have their bike equipped with safety lights, and must be riding on the right side of the road. Police said Walter did neither.

"Anytime there is a violation of law that TMs applicable, the officers have that discretion to make sure there are no more issues in that neighborhood. If that means placing someone under arrest for that lawful violation, they will do that."

Still, the explanation is not good enough for this upset mother, who wants police to stop targeting her son.

Harlingen police said although it may have been a minor offense, it TMs still grounds to place an individual under arrest.

Officers also arrested and charged two people for jaywalking that same day.