Moral Low Ground


Greg Snider Detained by Houston Police for Giving Change to Homeless Man

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A Texan who gave a homeless man 75 cents says he was roughed up, handcuffed and detained for more than an hour by Houston police officers who accused him of giving a homeless man drugs.

The Houston Press reports Greg Snider, a 41-year-old father of four, was driving in downtown Houston around 2pm on January 8 when he pulled into a parking lot at Commerce and LaBranch to make a business call.

“That’s when the homeless man came up to me,” Snider told KPRC. “He said, ‘Hey, my name is Dave, I’m from Dallas, I’m down on my luck. Do you have any change?'”

Snider gave the man 75 cents and drove off.

“I had no idea what was about to happen,” he said.

Shortly after Snider pulled onto Interstate 10, a police car with flashing lights and blaring siren pulled him over. He says he was shocked by what happened next.

“He’s screaming, he’s yelling,” Snider said of the officer who stopped him. “He’s telling me to get out of the car. He’s telling me to put my hands on the hood.” Snider told the Houston Press that he refused to exit his vehicle because he did not know why he was being stopped. He claims an officer pulled him out by his arm.

“They’re like, ‘We saw you downtown. We saw what you did,'” Snider told KPRC. “I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? I gave a homeless guy 75 cents!'”

Snider said the officer accused him of giving the man drugs. Snider consented to a vehicular search, and claims he was handcuffed and shoved into the back of a patrol car while at least 10 police units rushed to the scene. Drug-sniffing dogs searched his vehicle. Snider claims they scratched the paint on his car. Nothing illegal was found.

Snider, who had sat handcuffed in the back of the police cruiser for more than an hour, was then told he was free to go.

“He said everything was a misunderstanding,” recalled Snider, who said officers were laughing about the incident. But it was no laughing matter to Snider, who went to a Houston Police Department (HPD) substation to file a complaint. He was told complaints take 90 days to process. Snider claims he asked the officer on duty if he wanted photos of the damage the police dogs had done to his car so he could be reimbursed. He claims the officer folded his arms and sarcastically said, “Well, on behalf of HPD officers, we want to say we’re sorry.”

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