Texas Father and Son Sue Keller Police Division for Extreme Violence
Marco Puente says he was sprayed with pepper spray and arrested for shooting a potentially racially charged traffic obstruction for his own son.
Two Texan men are suing Keller Police Department for excessive violence.
According to the New York Times, the lawsuit was filed by Marco and Dillon Puente, Hispanic residents of the mostly white basement in Texas.
The father and son say they have long felt that Keller’s police force actively attacked them and other members of their community for being different.
“Every time you see a cop, is that cop is going to pull us over?” said Marco. “Are they going to target us? Do you know who we are?
“It’s just that weird feeling when you haven’t done anything wrong but don’t want anyone else to be crazy,” he added.
Marco’s fears became reality in mid-August when he and his 22-year-old son Dillon drove to a relative’s house. In a separate vehicle, Marco saw his son Dillon being stopped by the police.
Police car roof illuminated with blue light; Image from Pixabay via Pexels.com.
Marco wasn’t sure what was going on and decided to film the encounter. Shortly after he opened his cell phone camera and started recording, basement officers sprayed pepper, handcuffed him, and arrested him.
The pair’s lawyers now say two cellar police officers – Blake Shimanek, a former sergeant, and Officer Ankit Tomer – violated Marco’s civil rights by using excessive, unjustified violence.
“There’s no denying that her behavior was horrific,” said attorney Scott Palmer. “They are supposed to preserve and protect, and they have caused chaos and chaos.”
The New York Times notes that Officer Shimanek initiated the obstruction of Dillon Puente because he was seen making an “inappropriate wide right turn”.
Shimanek believed Dillon Puente was nervous so ordered him to get out of the car and handcuffed him.
After Marco arrived and started recording, Officer Shimanek started yelling and saying that the older Puente was blocking the road and had to leave. He also asked for assistance; When Tomer arrived he was ordered to arrest Marco.
While Marco was being detained, he was repeatedly sprayed with pepper spray by Officer Tomer and then refused to provide first aid or offer any form of relief.
While Mr. Puente was detained for resisting the arrest and obstruction of the police, he was released from prison within 24 hours. All charges against him were quickly dropped.
Eric Cedillo, a legal advisor for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), said bodycam footage of the incident made it clear that Shimanek ordered the arrest because he did not want to be recorded.
“It doesn’t look like there is any justification for his arrest,” said Cedillo. “It looks like the officer struggled against Mr Puente. He did absolutely nothing wrong. He was across the street recording. The first change is the ability to do this. “
Keller’s police chief Brad Fortune issued a statement a few weeks after his arrest, indicating that Shimanek had arrested Marco for a crime he did not actually commit. Shimanek was subsequently downgraded and Fortune publicly apologized to Mr. Puente and his son.
Although Marco says he accepted Fortune’s apology and thought it was a nice gesture, he believes more needs to be done to bring law enforcement to justice for wrongdoing.
“It’s the same everywhere,” said Puente. “If people keep brushing it under a rug, it will go on.”
LOCAL Keller police videos showing the arrest of father and son sparked national outrage
Man is suing police after being sprayed with pepper spray to arrest his son during filming