As she received her award, a young man ran onto the stage waving a Mexican flag that he had apparently smuggled into the heavily guarded ceremony, and he was whisked away by a guard.
A dashboard camera video shows a police officer in Texas tackling and using a Taser gun on a 76-year-old man he pulled over for an expired inspection sticker.
The dashboard-cam video, which was uploaded by the Victoria Advocate, shows Officer Nathaniel Robinson, 24, slamming Pete Vasquez on the hood of the police car in an attempt to handcuff him.
The two leave the camera’s field of vision, but soon after Robinson is seen holding his stun gun, yelling “put your hands behind your back.”
Police said that Robinson used a Taser on Vasquez twice.
According to the Advocate, the incident took place near Adam’s Auto Mart on Thursday when Vasquez was driving a dealer car back to the shop’s lot.
Vazquez told the NBC’s Houston affiliate KPRC that the officer told him to put his hands on his back and that he would be putting handcuffs on him.
“And then I turn around, and he pulls that Taser, and he shot me with it. And, you know, it looked like he’s enjoying that,” he said, adding that Robinson used the stun gun on him once on the chest when he fell to the ground and then again in the leg.
Larry Urich, a 62-year-old sales manager at the dealership who witnessed the incident, said it sickened him.
“I told the officer, ‘What the hell are you doing? This gentleman is 76 years old,” Ulrich said, according to the Advocate. “The cop told me to stand back, but I didn’t shut up.”
He said he called Robinson a “goddamned Nazi stormtrooper.”
“It’s a tragedy,” Urich said. “There was absolutely no reason to grab and try to restrain this 76-year-old guy. This was a muscled-up cop who was in absolutely no distress whatsoever.”
The Victoria police chief, Jeffrey Craig, told the Advocate he personally apologized to Vasquez for the incident. Robinson has been placed on administrative leave.
“Public trust is extremely important to us. Sometimes that means you have to take a real hard look at some of the actions that occur within the department,” he said.
Craig said while an expired inspection sticker is usually a citation, cars with dealer tags are exempt. Robinson was not charged with any wrongdoing.
The story has been picked up several times since the incident.
Vasquez told the Advocate on Monday that he hopes the story has been kept in the proper perspective.
"I agree that something has to be done, but I don't want to bash the police department in Victoria," Vasquez said. "I know there's a lot of good cops here, and I don't want them to think I'm putting them down or saying things that are not true; but there are a couple of bad ones, and they don't need to be on the force."