Newly released body cam footage from Kentucky police in Graves County — a county located near the state’s southwestern corner — shows several officers outside the home of Billy Hamilton and Patric Rodriguez, a married gay couple, near midnight on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2016. One officer calls Rodriguez a “shit apple redneck” and threatens to physically assault him, two officers threaten to sledgehammer down their front door, one unholsters his gun outside of their home, another threatens to shoot their dog and one of the officers slams Hamilton repeatedly against the wall after refusing to explain the reason for his arrest.
In the video, one officer refers to the men as a “doo dah.” Hamilton loudly protests his arrest. Both men were charged and released the following morning.
The Kentucky police had reportedly visited the home earlier in the day seeking Rodriguez when he was away. Later that day, Hamilton repeatedly called the police department asking why they wanted to speak with Rodriguez. The police then returned near midnight.
Rodriguez told wkms.org that he woke up disoriented and confused when police came knocking on his door around 11:38 p.m.. He had taken melatonin and had a few drinks before heading to bed and accidentally locked himself out of his house when going outside to talk to police.
Rodriguez told officers that he couldn’t open the door because it self-locked and he had no keys. One of the officers, identified as Chief Deputy Davant Ramage, asked Hamilton his husband’s name. When Rodriguez angrily responded, “I told you!” Ramage replied, “I will tell you right now you shit apple redneck, if you raise your voice to me one more time, I will throw your ass right off this porch and drag you to jail. Now you need to understand that.”
The police then get a sledgehammer to break down the door as one of the officers has his pistol drawn. Rodriguez explains that the couple’s dogs might bite them, and one of the officers says that he might have to shoot the dog.
When Hamilton eventually opens the door, police enter, refuse to explain why he’s being arrested and they then arrest him and Rodriguez. Hamilton claims that police also tazered him, though that alleged action happens off camera.
Here is body cam footage of Kentucky police arresting the gay couple:
Hamilton was arrested for harassing communications (for repeatedly calling the police department), disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Rodriguez was arrested for alcohol intoxication and disorderly conduct, but wkms.org reports that alcohol intoxication charges typically follow a public disturbance rather than drunkenness on one’s own doorstep.
After their release from jail the next morning, the men learned that the police had sought Rodriguez for an unpaid fine which Rodriguez handled soon after their release.
Wkms.org reports, “Hamilton has a hearing on December 18 for a motion to dismiss for lack of probable cause and unreasonable seizure. If the case is not dismissed, both Rodriguez and Hamilton will go to court in January.”
The men have called their experience with police “traumatizing” and add that this was the first time they have ever felt harassed since recently moving to Kentucky from California.
Featured image by kali9 via iStock