A protest was held Wednesday afternoon in Missouri City
after documents surfaced that Fort Bend County Precinct 2 Constable Daryl Smith
held his knee against the neck of a handcuffed suspect during a 2016 arrest.
At the time of the incident, Smith was a sergeant for the
Missouri City Police Department, according to an Missouri City Police
Department internal affairs investigative report. Protest organizers and
roughly a dozen supporters gathered to demand Smith to step down.
“This type of policing is unacceptable. We will not stand
for it and we are holding Daryl Smith accountable,” said Candice White, Texas
Coalition of Black Democrats statewide accountability chair and NAACP Houston
Chapter representative, speaking on behalf of both organizations.
The 2016 use-of-force incident involves a 25-year-old
Richmond man suspected of driving a stolen car who was arrested after leading
five Missouri City officers, including Smith, on a 20-minute high-speed car
chase which ended in a car crash on May 28, 2016. Officers allegedly pulled the
suspect from the car and put him face-down on the ground to be handcuffed,
during which time Smith reportedly put his knee on the neck of the suspect for
45 seconds, according to an internal affairs investigation report. The suspect
was taken to the hospital in an ambulance but later recovered.
“If we can all watch the knee being put on the neck of
brother George Floyd unjustly, what about the black knee in uniform that was
put on another Black man’s neck by Constable Daryl Smith,” community activist
Quanell X said. “If we don’t tolerate the white knee in uniform, we can’t
tolerate the Black knee in uniform either. We want Constable Daryl Smith held
First elected in November 2018, Smith is currently running
for re-election to his second term and faces opponent Tonja Beard in a runoff
in the upcoming July 14 Democratic Primary election. When asked to respond,
Smith denied the allegations.
“The incident that happened involved a chase. When the guy
got out of the car, we got him down and my knee was across the small of his
back because he’d already ran and everything. As soon as we got handcuffs on
him, we got up and took care of the guy and everything was done properly,”
Smith said, adding he believed he had been unfairly targeted during the
investigation for political reasons by the assistant police chief at the time.
“I have never injured anyone and I have used excessive force.”
The protest ended peacefully after Quanell X and a small
group from the protest confronted Smith outside the Missouri City City Hall
early voting polling location, where Smith was campaigning and talking to
“We are calling on the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s
office to re-open this investigation and look into the facts of this case.
Daryl is no different than what happened in Minnesota,” Quanell X said,
referring to officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee on the neck of Houston
native George Floyd for more than 8 minutes until he stopped moving. “We want
Mr. Daryl Smith held accountable because if he did the same thing as the white
cop in Minnesota did, why is he not being held accountable?”
According to a Letter of Discipline by Missouri City Chief
Mike Berezin, the Internal Affairs Investigation ruled Smith was guilty of
excessive use of force. He was also disciplined for not reporting the incident
or informing police officials as per department policy and for leading officers
in potentially dangerous high-speed chase. At the end of the four-month
investigation, Smith was demoted from patrol unit supervisor to desk sergeant
following a 10-day suspension without pay.
“Daryl Smith should resign his position at this point and
Daryl Smith should be prosecuted by the district attorney of Fort Bend County,”
said Gerry Monroe, executive director of the United Urban Alumni Association.
Missouri City officials declined to comment on details of
the internal affairs report findings.
“It is the city’s position that individuals requesting
documents should draw their own conclusions from records provided by the city,”
a city spkesperson said via email.