KILLEEN, Texas — Central Texans want answers after a video showing a Killeen police officer potentially breaking two laws started circulating across social media.
The video, which appears to show an officer in a patrol car on her phone while not wearing a seat belt, was shared more than 2,000 times in the first 24 hours that it was posted.
Marcus Evans, who recorded the video, said he started recording after he noticed the officer almost blow through a red light on WS Young Dr. Evans was sitting passenger in the next car over.
"She's here to enforce the law and I would hope that they hold themselves to a higher standard. I'm sure she has plenty of experience with traffic accidents and having to write reports and explain to family members that your loved one has been in an accident because of texting and driving and then here she is doing it," said Evans.
The comments were mostly focused on calling out the officer for breaking the laws she's supposed to enforce.
One comment supporting the officer said she would be exempt from those laws, but that's not entirely accurate.
6 News legal expert Liz Mitchell and a TxDOT spokesperson both confirmed state law prohibits all drivers, including officers, from reading, writing and sending text messages while driving.
All drivers and passengers are also required to wear a seat belt.
Mitchell said there is a traffic code exception for officers who are speeding, but only during pursuits. In that situation lights and sirens are generally required.
Evans said he hopes the department and the officer issue an apology and use the incident as a learning experience.
"I would hope that the other officers see this and go, 'Hey you never know when somebody is watching,'" Evans said. "Cameras are everywhere nowadays. Maybe this will open some eyes, not with just the Killeen Police Department but for every police officer."
The Killeen Police Department issued a statement on the video saying, in part:
"Although both of these violations are minor in nature, we understand that the expectations that our community expects were not met in this incident."
Chief of police Charles Kimble said the department would review the incident as it would with any allegation of misconduct.
The full statement can be read below.
6 News reached out to the department asking if Kimble would respond on camera, what consequences the officer may face and whether she was still working her beat after the incident, but KPD has not responded.
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