Video shows cops holding a mom down in bed of fire ants as they attacked her face and she pleaded for help

Police argue there were no fire ants nearby during the mom’s arrest in a school parking lot

Dan Gooding
Monday 13 May 2024 22:08 BST
Houston-area woman speaks out after filing lawsuit

A mom is suing the City of Santa Fe, Texas, after police handcuffed her and held her into a bed of fire ants, her attorney claims.

Taylor Rogers says she was “tortured” by Santa Fe Police Department officers in 2021 when they arrested her after she reportedly tried to make an illegal turn in a school parking lot.

She says officers pulled her from her car, with her 9-year-old son in the vehicle, and held her down into the anthill.

“Ants are on my face, ants are getting on my face, please!” Ms Rogers could be heard yelling in a police bodycam video shared with KHOU 11. “How can y’all do this? Ants are on my face! Please let go!”

Taylor Rogers claims she received multiple ant bites during an arrest in Santa Fe, Texas, in 2021
Taylor Rogers claims she received multiple ant bites during an arrest in Santa Fe, Texas, in 2021 (KHOU 11)

The video, shared by civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen after announcing a civil lawsuit against the city, showed part of the arrest from police body cam. Photos of Ms Rogers with rashes supposedly from the ants were held up as well during a press conference on Saturday. She had numerous red marks covering her face from where she said she was attacked.

"Taylor Rogers was stopped by Santa Fe police for no reason, thrown on the ground right into a bed of fire ants in the middle of the day and then held there while screaming," Mr Kallinen said during the briefing.

“Is it torture? Yeah that’s a strong word but I call it torture,” the attorney continued. "When the police hold you down in a fire ant bed and you’re saying fire ants and screaming, and they keep you there, what is that?"

Santa Fe Independent School District Police have denied the accusations against them, with Chief Ruben Espinoza telling KHOU 11 that Ms Rogers became irate when he tried to pull her over.

"When she [the officer] gave the description of the vehicle, I immediately knew who it was. So, I approached the intersection and observed Miss Rogers fleeing," Chief Espinoza told the outlet.

"She was also passing a vehicle in the grassy area on the right side when I tried to get in front of her to stop. She didn’t put her vehicle in reverse and fled from me.”

Ms Rogers claims she didn’t stop because she was scared, as an officer had pounded on her car and pointed a gun at her.

Ms Rogers says she was bitten by fire ants as cops in Santa Fe held her down
Ms Rogers says she was bitten by fire ants as cops in Santa Fe held her down (KHOU 11)

Police also argued there were no fire ants nearby and that they treated the woman with respect and dignity.

The mother later pleaded guilty to the charges of fleeing police filed against her and the officers were found to have acted appropriately.

Ms Rogers said that they need to be disciplined for what she described as “torture.”

"While I forgive those officers for their actions that day, I refuse to remain silent in the face of a violation of my son’s and my civil rights," she added in her prepared statement.

The Independent has approached the Santa Fe ISD Police Department for further comment, but is yet to receive a response.

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