Winter Texan Recounts Being Erroneously Detained at McAllen Park
MCALLEN – A Winter Texan said he was detained and questioned by McAllen police because he didn’t have an ID.
Jim McLachlan, of Canada, said he was handcuffed and put in the back of a police unit at WestSide Park Wednesday morning. He said the incident should have been handled differently.
McAllen police said they had received a tip about a wanted person at a park. A spokesperson for the department said officers were only following protocol.
McLachlan said he plays softball with friends at the park. He said his wife dropped him off an hour before his game started. He walked a few circles around the field before being stopped and questioned by a McAllen police officer.
“Within 60 seconds of talking to me, he had me in the cruiser with the cuffs on,” he said.
McLachlan said he didn’t have his ID with him because he feared it would get stolen. His wife, Lou Anne, was at another recreational facility blocks away from the park. She got a call from the officer to confirm his identity.
“They never led me to believe that there was anything serious was going on here,” she said.
McLachlan’s wife said she doesn’t understand why officers didn’t offer an explanation for his arrest. She said she could’ve gone home to get his identification.
McAllen Police Department spokesman Sgt. John Saenz said they were assisting in a federal case.
“This male was stopped and detained for investigative purposes on the suspicion of having a warrant,” he said.
Saenz said the officers on the street have to make the decision to let them go or investigate them further.
“Any call for services that we receive, whether it is a suspicious person who may have a warrant, maybe a fugitive, course the duty is to stop and investigate and try to determine if such an allegation is correct,” he said.
Saenz said they understand the inconvenience it can cause to someone.
McLachlan said he was cleared once he was fingerprinted by the FBI. He said he also understands police have a job to do.
“This has been the worst day of my life; I can’t say it any other way. I’ve come to this country, I’ve caused no problems,” he said.
He said he’s be sure to carry his ID with now at all times.