Allegations of Brutality Investigated

Published: Apr. 21, 2005 at 9:25 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 22, 2005 at 1:13 AM CDT
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by Donna McCollum

The NAACP is interested in John Brown's story. The Alto man's account of alleged police brutality begins when he heard family dogs barking on the dark night of April 11. "I thought somebody was stealing and when I got up on the person it was the police," recalled Brown with NAACP representative John Morrison closely listening.

Actually it was Cherokee County Sgt. Jamie Beene, a 10-year veteran with the sheriff's department. Sgt. Beene was in Brown's neighborhood chasing a drug suspect.

Brown said, "I seen the gun like this right here and he told me to put my hands up and I was terrified because I thought he was going to shoot me because I just ran up on him like that."

Brown described how he was arrested in front of his uncle's trailer where he was handcuffed and taken down a long driveway where he was allegedly beaten. "He told me to get down on my knees and I was attempting to get down on my knees and he kicked me and broke my ankle, just started kicking me."

Brown's father, a stroke victim in a wheelchair said he begged the officer to stop while feeling more helpless than his son. John Skinner cried as he recalled the night. "He kept doing it and he told me to shut up and go back in the house and I told him, 'I'm not going nowhere as long as he's kicking my son.'"

Nacogdoches NAACP spokesman John Morrison said, "Something just don't add up and to me it's totally a case of police brutality."

Shortly after the organization was contacted by Brown the request for an investigation by the Texas Rangers was submitted by authorities. Brown said, "I left messages on his [Texas Ranger Rudy Flores] answering machine for almost a week and then when the NAACP got involved here they come calling me."

Brown may be charged with assaulting a public servant, something difficult for him to understand with three plates and 16 pins in his leg. His injuries required surgery. He was taken to a hospital by an ambulance called by Alto police.

Cherokee County Sheriff James Campbell and District Attorney Elmer Beckworth are declining interviews about this case until after the investigation. In previous reports Campbell denies any wrongdoing by his sergeant in this incident. By phone the D.A. said the evidence will be placed before the grand jury in the coming weeks.