Police Associations Ask Rep. Coleman to Apologize

Several law enforcement organizations are calling on state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, to apologize after saying he was "treated like a child" during a traffic stop. But Coleman said he doesn't see a reason why he should apologize.

State Rep. Garnet Coleman, chairman of the House Committee on County Affairs, expresses his frustration with DPS Director Steve McCraw during a hearing on mental health and jail standards on July 30, 2015.

Several law enforcement organizations are calling on state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, to apologize after saying he was "treated like a child" during a traffic stop last month.

But Coleman said Thursday he doesn't see a reason why he should apologize.

Last week, at a House Committee on County Affairs hearing that focused on jail safety in light of the death of Sandra Bland, Coleman railed on Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw for how the representative said he was treated by a deputy with the Austin County Sheriff's Office. Coleman was pulled over for speeding while traveling east on Interstate 10 on July 14.

"He was so rude and nasty," Coleman, visibly emotional, told McCraw at the hearing. "Even when he found out I was a legislator, he became more rude and nasty. And I didn't understand why this guy was continuing to go on and on and treat me like a child."

Footage of the traffic stop obtained by KHOU in Houston shows Coleman was speeding at 94 mph. The dashboard camera footage, released by the Austin County Sheriff's Office, depicts an officer trailing Coleman, who was driving a car with state official license plates. In the video, which lasts about nine minutes, the officer lets Coleman go with a warning and tells him that if he had gotten a ticket, he would have lost his license because of previous citations.

The Texas Municipal Police Association "is outraged that such a manufactured claim would be made by an elected official, during official business, particularly as he is the Chairman of the Committee on County Affairs," the association said in a statement Thursday.

But Coleman said in an interview that he "wasn't exaggerating at all."

"Maybe you have to be black to understand," he said. 

"If I had expressed the anger that I had then, I would be the one in jail," Coleman added.

In the video, toward the end, the officer tells Coleman to "stop speeding in a state car, okay? You got state plates on here, man."

Coleman responds to the officer, "I understand what you're saying. Speed got away from me."

When Coleman drives away, the officer is heard saying, "That gentleman had an attitude."

The Texas Municipal Police Association said it had spoken with the presidents of several law enforcement agencies and all were "equally outraged" by Coleman's statements that he was mistreated, according to the statement. The Houston Police Officers’ Union, Dallas Police Association and Harris County Deputies' Organization joined the municipal police association in asking Coleman to apologize.