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McKinney Council Member Says He Was Arrested For Racial, Political Reasons

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McKINNEY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - A McKinney City Council Member claims racial profiling and political retribution were behind his arrest during traffic stop.

La'Shadion Shemwell says he wasn't speeding when he was stopped for speeding by McKinney Police on Highway 5 around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday.

LaShadion Shemwell
LaShadion Shemwell - McKinney City Council Member

Shemwell is black and an activist against police brutality.

"He said he pulled me over because I was going 55 miles an hour on Highway 5 and it just didn't add up to me," Shemwell told CBS11.

The 31-year-old McKinney city councilman says the officer didn't know who he was at first.  

"He asked for my identification but I made a statement like, 'You know who I am, You know who I am. What is this all about? What's going on here?'"

Shemwell believes once the officer discovered who he was he decided to also ticket him for failing to update the address on his license.

He asked me before he wrote the citation how long and I've been there at the new address? And had I been there since my election? So at that point he knew I was elected official."

Shemwell says he refused to sign the citation and was arrested.

"He opened my door and took me to jail which point he was a little bit rough and try to twist my arm or what not," said Shemwell.

Shemwell is a prominent activist behind marches and rallies that followed several racially charged incidents involving McKinney Police.  

He became only the second black council member in the city's history last year.

"It's not a secret that I'm an advocate against police brutality. It's not a secret of the McKinney Police Association endorsed my opponent and did not want me to win the seat."

Shemwell believes the four officers at the scene could have let the traffic stop end without the mug shot and trip to jail.

"None of them came together and said this is probably not a good idea for a city officers to be arresting a city council person for such a violation that we have discretion over it's just not good for the city," he said.

The councilman wants police to suspend the officer.

The McKinney Police Department released the body cam footage of Shemwell's arrest.

The department also released a statement:

       On the evening of Tuesday, May 8th, 2017, Officer K. Wilkerson conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle he observed traveling 55 mph in a 35 mph zone on N McDonald St.  Officer Wilkerson contacted the driver, LaShadion Shemwell.

       Officer Wilkerson cited Mr. Shemwell for speeding and for failure to change the address on his driver's license within the required 30-day period.  Officer Wilkerson provided the citation for Mr. Shemwell to sign as a promise to appear before the         court.  Mr. Shemwell repeatedly refused and was arrested to be taken before a magistrate regarding the citations.

"I think that was the intent of the officer all along was to humiliate me embarrass me and show me that he was the boss," Shemwell said.

Attorney and Former McKinney Officer Pete Schulte says police do have the discretion to arrest someone for refusing the sign a citation and usually do.

Shemwell says the arrest will not impact his status on the city council.

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