Witnesses assist lone officer during Starbucks scuffle

A pastor and a truck driver who assisted a Weslaco Police officer as he tried to detain three juveniles said the officer used appropriate force during the incident.

Police say two teens were caught vandalizing near Movies 10 and ran toward a Starbucks nearby.

A officer who responded to the scene followed them into the business.

The next two words that came out of his mouth were you TMre under arrest, Pastor Noe Lopez said.

The two teens did not comply with the officer TMs orders to get on the ground.

Their friend tried to intervene and pull the officer off, truck driver Jerry Edwards said.

Lopez offered the police officers assistance, which landed him in the middle of the scuffle.

I was not going to sit by and watch the officer get overwhelmed by three guys, Lopez said.

It took four and a half minutes before back-up arrived on the scene.

Normally our response time is a lot quicker, so that he would have had back-up a lot quicker, but it was a busy night, Weslaco Police Chief Michael Kelley said.

Chief Kelley reviewed the video of the incident the day after it occurred.

It TMs my opinion that this officer was well within the policy set out by this department, in that I mean the use of the baton and the strike areas he was using, they fall within our guidelines, Chief Kelley said.

Chief Kelley told Action 4 News that officers are trained to use force when suspects do not comply, and in this case the officer hit the suspect on areas they are trained to target.

Based on all the circumstances involved, he was allowed to go to the use of the baton, Chief Kelley said.

Edwards was struck by one of the suspects and decided to press charges, while Lopez decided he didn TMt want to press charges.

I serve a God of second chances and I told the officer that I didn TMt want to press charges, Lopez said. I would like to talk to them and tell them there is a better way to live.

Two of the suspects face assault charges.

The third suspect faces charges for interfering with officers duties and resisting arrest.