lawsuit

Lawsuit claims Ex McKinney Police Officer Used Excessive Force at Pool Party

By Peek & Toland on April 5, 2017

White police officers using excessive force against black people was an enduring theme of 2015 and 2016. In Texas, a former McKinney police officer is facing a $5 million federal lawsuit over claims he used excessive force while restraining a 15-year-old.

The incident at a pool party gained notoriety. It was captured on social media videos and made national news headlines.

The Star-Telgram reported how David Eric Casebolt, a former police officer, chased black teens and ordered them to the ground.

Casebolt, who is white, was seen forcing the teen girl, Dajerria Becton, onto her stomach and placing his knees on her back.

The officer also caused outcry at the pool party when he pulled out his firearm as two young black men charged forward to complain about the girl’s treatment. He holstered the weapon when two other officers intervened.

About a dozen officers responded to a 911 call related to an apparent disturbance at the pool. There were about 100 teens at the pool and a fight had been reported.

Casebolt resigned from the police department less than a week after the incident. McKinney Police Chief Greg Conley branded his actions at the pool “indefensible” and said he lost control of the incident.

The federal complaint follows the decision of a grand jury not to indict Casebolt in the summer of 2016.

Excessive force lawsuit stems from Texas pool party

lawsuit claims police officer used excessive force at pool party

The lawsuit claims the officer used excessive force, committed an assault and unlawfully detained a minor child. The lawsuit also accused the city of McKinney and police officials of failing to provide McKinney officers with adequate training and lacking a direction to protect residents from having their rights violated by police officers.

In past years, the City of McKinney was the subject of a lawsuit that accused its officials of imposing racial segregation in public housing.
The rapid growth of social media has given a wider forum to police arrests and led to mass outcries at heavy-handed tactics. Last year police were accused of racism and a series of arrests led to the deaths of young black men.

In December 2016, the arrest of a black mother by a Fort Worth police officer sparked a social media backlash.

Jacqueline Craig told an officer she called the police because a neighbor grabbed her son. After an argument, she was wrestled to the ground and arrested by the white police officer on charges of resisting arrest and failure to identify.

Reports said she was also arrested on warrants from the Irving Police Department for traffic charges.

Excessive force is a significant problem linked to police officers across the county. In January, former US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the Chicago Police Department unconstitutionally engaged in deadly and excessive force over a considerable period.

Her press conference concluded a 13-month federal probe into a department that has been under heavy criticism over officer-involved shootings.

As Austin criminal defense lawyers, we are always concerned to hear about police using excessive force. Intimidation by police officers can be physical or verbal. A DWI suspect might be coerced or bullied into a breath test or stopped without proper cause.

A police officer may force a confession due to excess force. If this has happened to you, please call Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Criminal Defense

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Texas Rape Victim Who Was Jailed for Fear She Would Not Testify Files Lawsuit

By Peek & Toland on September 22, 2016

As Austin criminal defense attorneys, there are few things that surprise us anymore about prosecutors in the state. However, the actions of one prosecutor who jailed a Texas rape victim for fear she would not testify, have caused widespread shock.

The New York Times reported that the Harris District Attorney’s office jailed a woman they feared would not take the stand after suffering a mental breakdown.

Texas rape victim has filed a lawsuit after being jailed

Prosecutors jailed the Texas rape victim in the same jail as her attacker, Keith Hendricks. A lawsuit was brought against the district attorney’s office and county and jail officials. It alleges she was misclassified as a perpetrator of the attack, denied medication in jail, attacked by another inmate and punched by a guard.

It’s a case that raises alarming questions about the treatment of people with mental health issues in the Texas justice system. As well as the legal aspects, it raises serious concerns about such treatment of someone who has already been victimized.

The Texas rape victim was locked in the Harris County jail for 27 days. According to reports, the women, who is schizophrenic and bipolar, told prosecutors she planned to run away. She did not want to complete her testimony against Hendricks. She spent 10 days in the hospital recovering. The District Attorney’s Office claimed the woman had no place to go after being discharged. Prosecutors obtained a witness attachment and took her to jail.

The Lawsuit Brought Against Harris County by the Texas Rape Victim

The lawsuit makes some serious claims against the authorities in Harris County.

It notes that attachment orders, or “witness bonds” are occasionally used for legitimate purposes. However, they are typically invoked when a witness who is under subpoena is considered a flight risk.

Lawyers representing the woman said their proper use is in cases that involve illegal immigrants who might be scared to testify because of gang reprisal or the fear of deportation.

Although the woman was a rape victim with a mental illness, the lawsuit claims the jail staff classified her as a defendant in a sexual assault case in their system. The oversight meant she was treated like a perpetrator rather than a victim. She was placed with the general jail population rather than in a mental health ward. Here, she faced further attacks and hostility.

As criminal defense attorneys, we know many of the tricks that prosecutors use. This case highlights how glitches in the criminal justice system can and do occur, often with serious consequences.

Our attorneys have years of experience of fighting for jail release in Texas. Please contact us to get out of jail, or to find out more about the wide range of legal services that we can provide. We will be more than happy to discuss your jail release options, or to answer any questions and concerns that you may have.

Posted in Criminal Defense

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Nigerian Man Awaiting Deportation Sues Johnson County Jail

By Peek & Toland on August 24, 2016

A Nigerian national who was held in a Texas jail before being deported to his home country has filed a lawsuit against the facility operators, claiming authorities withheld treatment for his injuries.

The Dallas Morning News highlighted the disturbing case of the man from Justin who claimed he suffered bleeding ulcers and other medical problems when he was held in the Johnson County Jail.

Nigerian man sues Texas jail over treatment

As attorneys who help many immigrants fight against deportation in Texas, we were alarmed to read about the conditions Stephen Nwaogwugwu claimed he suffered at the jail.

The 56-year-old sued the operator of the Johnson County Jail. He was on probation for an obstruction of a roadway offense when he fell into the hands of the immigration authorities in January. He was deported to Nigeria.

The lawsuit stated Nwaogwugwu was suffering from no medical issues when he was incarcerated, but he subsequently developed ulcers and a condition called a rectal prolapse while he was being held in an immigration detention center at the Johnson County Jail. The center is run by a private company called LaSalle Southwest Corrections.

In the lawsuit that seeks $100,000 in damages, the Nigerian accused the jail of withholding medication and delaying treatment for his injuries. He said his condition deteriorated before he was deported to Nigeria in February where his condition was treated.

The Dallas Morning News report said Nwaogwugwu is married to a U.S. citizen.

Our Texas immigration attorneys regularly help permanent residents who face deportation being charged with a crime. See more details here.

Conditions at privately-run prisons have come under intense scrutiny over the last few months. Recently, a Mother Jones reporter went undercover at a privately-run jail in Louisiana.

If you are facing deportation, either as an undocumented migrant or a permanent resident, it’s important to get experienced legal representation as soon as possible. Our Austin-based immigration and criminal defense lawyers can help. Call us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Jail Release

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