Texas police officer terminated after detaining driver in Buc-ee’s parking lot, issuing citation on private property

Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 7:23 PM CDT
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TEXAS CITY, Texas (KWTX) - A Texas City police officer was terminated on Sept. 1 after a viral video of him pulling over and detaining a driver in a Buc-ee’s parking lot over an alleged offense committed on private property.

Video shared on YouTube shows the 23-minute traffic stop captured on officer Scott Harrell’s body camera on April 19, 2023. It happened at the Texas City Buc-ee’s when Christopher Shull apparently drove through the parking lot on his way to a pump to get gas.

Harrell says he was sitting in the parking lot working on a report when the incident happened.

During the video, Harrell can be heard telling Shull “Hey man, you can’t drive through the parking lot like that.”

Harrell says Shull drove through empty parking spaces and claims Shull nearly hit a truck while pulling up to the gas pump.

“Instead of being like, ‘Oh yeah, I messed up, it won’t happen again,’ you want to sit here and go back and forth,” Harrell is heard telling Shull in the body camera video.

Officer Harrell and Shull then argue over whether the officer has the authority to issue a citation on private property. Shull then becomes upset and raises his voice at the officer.

Harrell can then be seen putting Shull in handcuffs and in the back of his police cruiser. “I can’t believe you’re doing this, dude,” Shull is seen saying from the back of the police unit.

While Harrel is talking to Shull in the back of the police cruiser, Harrell can be heard saying “You have forced my hand, at this point, because if I don’t go and see this through to its conclusion, I know you’re going to go to the police department and file a complaint on me. The complaint’s not going to do anything because I have it all on video.”

Another officer arrived during the traffic stop and provided Harrel a citation book to write Shull a ticket instead.

Shull was then released from the back of the vehicle and un-handcuffed.

Former Police Chief Joe Stanton reviewed Harrell’s actions in the situation and ordered an investigation by the Office of Professional Standards.

On Sept. 1, new Texas City Police Chief Landis Cravens terminated Harrell. “We want to be clear that the actions of this individual do not represent the hard work and dedication of the men and women who proudly wear the uniform of the Texas City Police Department,” Landis wrote in a letter to his community.

The Texas City Police Department received a notice from the Texas Municipal Police Association on behalf of Harrell that the decision was being appealed.