PLANO, Texas – When Andre Harvey saw a police officer taking down a man, he did what’s becoming increasingly common: he whipped out his phone and hit record.
What the video captured wasn’t the worst aspect of police brutality, but the best example of officers and citizens banding together.
Plano, Texas, police Detective Jon Hoffman was sitting at a red light when he saw a man run out of a 7/11 carrying a plastic donation jar full of cash.
Hoffman, dressed in plain clothes but wearing his badge and gun, caught the man and pinned him to the hood of his car.
A struggle ensued and a crowd started gathering.
“The detective has a martial arts background and he later said he thought the suspect must have a martial arts background too because he was able to break away so easily,” Plano Police Department Public Information Officer David Tilley told CNN. “The suspect was also slick with sweat and John just wasn’t able to restrain him.”
The detective yelled out for help.
In the crowd were Harvey and fellow day laborer Kirby Sample. Harvey said his first thought was to video it all.
“That was my impulse, I have to say it but that was my impulse was that this cop’s gonna do something stupid,” he told CNN affiliate KTVT.
But something changed.
“When he asked for help, I’m thinking to myself, ‘Well there’s not gonna be a shooting if I get over there in time.'”
Still recording, Harvey and Sample jumped into action.
“Harvey was able to grab the suspects arms, while Kirby grabbed his legs, and they were able to get the suspect to the ground to help Detective Hoffman put the handcuffs on,” Tilley said.
“Neither one of them hesitated, they just did what responsible people would do,” Hoffman told KTVT.
The man, 27-year-old Majd D. Qewar, was charged with resisting arrest and possession of a controlled substance.
The charity jar he stole? It had less than $50 supporting a muscular dystrophy cause.
After the arrest, the detective promised the two men lunch at a local steakhouse Texas Land & Cattle.
One ordered a boneless rib eye and the other ordered a full rack of baby back ribs. Both had dessert. The lunch cost the detective almost $100 but said it was the least he could do.
“We are proud of these two good Samaritans and their willingness to place themselves in harm’s way for the safety of others,” the department said in a statement.