Police Officer Files Police Brutality Lawsuit Against Police Officers
You know it’s getting out of hand when even other police aren’t safe from police officers. A recent lawsuit filed by a Waller County constable alleges that deputies violated his right to due process, used excessive force, and violated his civil rights concerning unlawful seizure.
The lawsuit names Harris County constable Ted Heap and seeks $50 million in damages. The suit also accuses Heap of defamation.
Smith, who is Black, says that he was ordered out of his service vehicle and handcuffed at gunpoint. Smith believes that the officers were racially profiling him.
According to Heap and other officers, someone called in a complaint about a driver pointing a gun at other drivers. The description of the vehicle included a service siren. The driver said he thought he was being pulled over by Smith who instead drove by yelling at him and pointed a gun at him before driving off. He called police and reported the incident. Police caught up with Smith later.
Smith told the officers that he flashed his lights at the driver who was speeding. Smith also said the driver cut him off. Smith said he was trying to protect others around him. Heap said his officers responded to a high-risk traffic stop since there was a vehicle involved. He said nothing the officers did on body camera warrants investigation.
Smith was in handcuffs for nearly two minutes before he was released.
Police officers are generally of the opinion that they’re entitled to broad leeway when it comes to their brothers in arms. Smith said the officers ignored his badge and his uniform before releasing him. He believes that the incident was racially motivated. Smith also said that because Heap made comments concerning Smith being wanted in conjunction with a crime publically, that constitutes defamation.
Smith said he turned his lights on while he was being pulled over. Instead of checking the license plate of the vehicle, they got out of the vehicle with their guns drawn. Heap said his deputies did check the vehicle and it was registered to a private company called Enterprise Holdings. Heap said there was no indication the vehicle was government-issue.
Smith is fuming because he received no apology from the deputies or the department. Heap said that Smith is a “suspect in a criminal case” even though he was released without charges.
While it’s not entirely clear what happened and whose version of events is the most likely, it will be difficult without serious injury to win a $50 million case against the police department. In Texas, the vast majority of these lawsuits are barred by statute. A plaintiff would have to prove intentional harm to file a lawsuit against the department and their officer.
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If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another, call the Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers today to learn more about how we can help/