Charges have been dropped against a Black Texas student who was arrested by police officers while mowing lawns.
Marlin Gipson, 20, was originally charged with failure to identify to the police and evading arrest after an officer stopped him while he was handing out business cards for his lawn care service. A friend of Gipson recorded part of the exchange and captured Harris County Deputy Shane Coates pulling out his handcuffs after Gipson gave him a false birthdate and asked for his information in return.
Gipson then returned to his home prompting the deputy to call for back-up as he hid in a bathroom. While the family tells a different story, deputies claim they were let inside and warned Gipson that they had police dogs. When they located him, he was bitten multiple times and tased with a stun gun before being arrested.
The Houston Press reports that prosecutors dropped all of the charges against Gipson because there wasn’t enough evidence to support them.
Gipson’s experience became another cause for the Black Lives Matter to argue for police reform as many felt racial prejudice and profiling played a role in the interaction even happening.
The footage of Coates approaching Gipson went viral and the department responded by attaching his character to justify what was surely an overreaction on their part.
“After the unconstitutional and excessive arrest of a black college student while he was mowing lawns to make extra money over the summer, how do we expect law enforcement to respond to national outcry?” Gipson’s attorney Lee Merritt asked in a post on Facebook.
“Character assassination of course,” he continued.