An investigation by the Anderson County Sheriff's Office continues into the arrest Saturday of a local man, following a confrontation with deputies at a home in Anderson County.
But Devon Gordon, 22, who was released Monday after relatives posted his $1,500 bond, wants some answers, too, including why deputies entered his aunt's home without a warrant, took his phone, wrestled him to the ground, and arrested him.
“When I turned around, officers barged in and just attacked me,” Gordon told the Herald-Press Tuesday. “I told him I couldn't breathe with his knee against my neck, and he told me to shut up. Honestly, I was scared they were going to shoot me with my son in the house.”
ACSO Capt. Ginger Lively said the sheriff's office will review body cam footage to determine if deputies acted properly. If deputies acted criminally, the sheriff's office will turn the investigation over to an outside agency, such as the Texas Rangers.
Lively told the Herald-Press Monday deputies did nothing improper in entering the home, and that problems didn't begin until other officers arrived.
The confrontation, which started shortly after 10 p.m., went public after a video of the incident, taken with cell phones, went viral on social media. The video depicts sheriff's deputies yelling at family members to put down their phones and stop filming, after one deputy entered the home without permission.
ACSO Deputy Stormy Jarvis can be heard on the video saying she had probable to cause to enter because the door was open and she heard yelling. A spokesperson for the sheriff's office later said the deputy was responding to a child welfare call that alleged illegal activity was taking place in the home.
Family members said, however, they were just celebrating a birthday. “No one was yelling,” Gordon's uncle, Terrence Perry, who was also at the party, said. “We were talking over our music; it was a party.”
Legal experts say peace officers can enter a home without a warrant, under state law, on very few occasions, including the commission of a crime in plain view or a reasonable belief a life or an abused child is in danger.
Perry said Deputy Jarvis appeared satisfied with the well-being of the children, after family-members led her to the room where they were relaxing, watching television, and playing with Christmas toys.
Nevertheless, the deputy called for backup. When backup arrived, ACSO Deputy Sgt. Ryan Cate, accompanied by an unidentified deputy, can be seen on the video briskly walking towards Gordon, who was videoing the event, and telling Gordon to stop and put the camera away.
When Gordon did not comply, Cate placed him in a headlock, wrestled the phone from his hand, and, along with other deputies, forced Gordon to the floor.
“They came in all aggressive,” Perry said. “They weren't there to investigate – no way.”
In Texas, it is legal to film, photograph, or otherwise, record anything that can be seen in a public place, according to an online Texas law site. Without a warrant, the site states, police cannot seize a person’s phone or tamper with photos or recordings.