LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas family at the center of a Texas guns-drawn traffic stop due to a mistake spoke out about their emotions and the impact Thursday.
Attorney Mark Hampton introduced Myron and Demetria Heard, the adults at the center of the July 23 traffic stop in Frisco, Texas, at a news conference in Little Rock. The couple was joined by Jason and Dia Nicholson, who are the parents of the second young man in the car who is also the Heards’ nephew.
The two couples spoke, at times tearfully, about their emotions after the traffic stop. They also spoke about the difficulties the two children remain under in coming to terms with facing drawn guns and shouted orders by law enforcement.
The Heards, their son and their nephew were pulled over in Frisco when an officer typed the wrong state in while checking the license of the Dodge Charger Demetria Heard was driving. Several Frisco police officers participated in the stop, blocking multiple lanes of the tollway as they drew guns on the family in the car.
It was later determined the officer who initiated the stop typed in Arizona instead of Arkansas for the Arkansas-registered car. When the check returned that the tags could not be found the officer responded as though the car was stolen.
Body camera footage shows police shouting at the Charger’s driver and passengers to keep their hands outside the car and warning them that a false move could be fatal as they had them exit the car one at a time.
“They had their guns out,” Demetria Nicholson said tearfully.
After the adults and one child were outside of the car, with the other child handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser, a second officer double-checked and realized the mistake, at this point the traffic stop de-escalated, Demetria Heard said.
Myron Heard expressed frustration with the experience and the police officers’ conduct.
“You got guns on all of them and I can’t do nothing,” he said. “This escalated to 1,000 when it could just be point-five.”
The family was in Texas for an AAU basketball tournament. Myron Heard said the police stop was so traumatic his son could not complete the tournament play.
During the Thursday conference, both sets of parents said their children were still upset over the traffic stop.
Jason and Dia Nicholson said they received an apology from the Frisco chief of police, but only after the video of the traffic stop became a viral sensation.
“We are civilized Black Americans,” Jason Nicholson, a pastor, said, speaking to what he felt was dismissiveness from the police department.
Hampton said at the start of the conference that nobody was going to speak about possible legal action or a possible settlement. He had contacted the department for information, but the Texas Freedom of Information Act law allowed the department two weeks to respond, he said.