Investigation into Alleged Misconduct by Swisher Co. Sheriff Completed

Published 07/15 2014 11:54AM

Updated 07/15 2014 12:10PM

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TULIA, TX -- The initial investigation into alleged misconduct by the Swisher County Sheriff is complete. The investigation started because of a cell phone video that shows Sherriff Burnie Wells slamming a handcuffed man to the ground during an incident last month.

Lawrence Draine, 23, was stopped by Sheriff Burnie Wells in late June and arrested on a charge of failure to ID. 

Draine and a friend drove from Dimmit to Tulia stopping at random houses, and asking if junked cars in front yards were for sale. Draine stopped at the home of Billy Britten. Britten then started following Draine at several stops including a mechanic shop and a gas station. When Draine confronted him, Britten pointed a gun at Draine and called the sheriff. 

When Sheriff Wells arrived at the Rip Griffin parking lot, he told Britten to go home. Sheriff Wells then asked Draine for his driver’s license.

Draine’s girlfriend, Tiffany Smith, said Draine became agitated, asking the Sheriff why Britten was allowed to leave, when he had pointed the gun at them. Sheriff Wells then pulled out his gun and told Draine he was under arrest. 

“Once he got one hand cuffed, he put his gun back in the holster. Then, he slammed him on the ground with his face down,” Smith said. “He had his knee in his back and one of Lawrence’s hands was at the stop the other was cuffed behind his back.”

Smith said after Draine was handcuffed, he tried to move because was being bitten by ants. Smith said Sheriff Wells pushed Draine back on the ground, so Smith used her cell phone to record video.

It shows the Sheriff using physical force on Draine even though he was already handcuffed. Draine was taken to jail. 

The investigation was turned over to the Swisher County Attorney who must decide if he will recuse himself and bring-in the Texas Rangers.

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