Instances of police overstepping their bounds are found in states across the nation, including here in Washington. And while many of our blog readers hope that this never happens to them in their lifetime, they know that there is little they can do to stop it.
Using a case out of Texas as an example though, we will show our readers the legal consequences that face law enforcement when they not only use excessive force during an arrest but also falsely accusing someone of criminal activity. Seeing another case may help our readers understand their rights a little better while also helping them see how others have defended themselves against criminal charges.
An elderly woman is suing two Texas officers for unlawfully arresting and detaining her after an incident on May 16. According to the woman, she was watering plants in her front yard when she noticed two officers walking down the street. She claims that because there was “no danger” in her yard she ignored their request for her to “return to her home in a rude and abusive tone.” Because she did not do as the officers instructed, the lawsuit explains, the officers “tackled” the elderly woman to the ground and placed her in handcuffs, accusing her of public intoxication. She was then detained for an undisclosed amount of time.
Because reports do not indicate the administration of blood-alcohol testing after her arrest, it's difficult to say whether the officers had evidence to substantiate their claims of public intoxication or not. It's because of this missing information that might lead some of our readers to argue that the woman's civil rights were violated and that she was falsely accused of crimes she may not have committed.
In cases such as this, people should know that they can take legal action against law enforcement and hold them accountable for the civil rights violation. If this was the situation in this case, then that could explain why the woman filed a lawsuit against the officers and is seeking $3 million in damages.
Source: Courthouse News Service, “The Law in Texas,” Cameron Langford, June 11, 2014