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This website is maintained by the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a Dallas, Texas law firm representing people across Texas for dog bite injury cases. We have attempted to provide useful information for those harmed by animal attacks.

Posts Tagged ‘Texas’

Police Abuse Lawyer – A Former Houston, Texas Police Officer Faces Charges, in D.A.’s Fresh Focus on Police Accountability

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

English: 1200 Travis, the headquarters of the ...

English: 1200 Travis, the headquarters of the Houston Police Department Español: 1200 Travis, la sede del Departamento de Policía de Houston (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A former Houston, Texas, police officer has been indicted by a grand jury for actions taken on February 16, 2017. News of the indictment was released on June 22, 2017. In connection with the announcement about the former Houston Police Department officer, Kim Ogg, Houston’s District Attorney, said that her administration is focusing on police accountability. The former officer has now been charged with felony tampering of evidence and misdemeanor assault. Ogg, who has been the D.A. in Houston for six months, said at a news conference that these charges reflect the fresh commitment to police accountability.

The charges address alleged actions of the former police officer when he had a controversial encounter with Derek Carr, a man who had allegedly robbed the officer’s family home in Acres Homes, a northwest Houston neighborhood.

According to prosecutors who charged Carr with burglary, Carr was carrying some of the officer’s belongings and a 16-inch metal tool. They also say that since 1992, court records indicate that Carr has allegedly been charged with burglary 11 times.

When the former police officer encountered Carr on February 16, he was wearing his police uniform but was off duty. He and Carr got into a physical altercation, and the officer allegedly shot Carr once in the back and once in the arm. Just after the shooting, a bystander began shooting video footage, and it allegedly shows that the officer repeatedly kicked Carr. Photo evidence suggests that the police officer moved the metal tool, and the Houston D.A. said doing so was clearly meant to tamper with the evidence.

A Harris County grand jury did not indict the officer on a charge of aggravated assault for the shooting. The grand jury did, however, return a felony charge of allegedly tampering with evidence and a misdemeanor assault charge for allegedly kicking Carr.

Ogg used these indictments as an occasion to double down on her intent to make sure the law applies to all people equally, including law enforcement officials.

–Guest Contributor

 

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A Man is Allegedly Killed in an Officer-Involved Shooting in Pleasant Grove, Dallas, Texas

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

English: This is an image I created with Photo...

English: This is an image I created with Photoshop Category:Law enforcement insignia in the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A fatal officer-involved shooting occurred in Pleasant Grove Monday night, June 19, 2017, and the Dallas Police Department is investigating the incident. According to law enforcement officials, at about 5 p.m., police were called to a scene with an active shooter. Assistant Chief Randall Blankenbaker said a man allegedly fired multiple gunshots into a neighbor’s home. When police arrived at the scene, a home on Eastham Drive, they found that the front door was open. A noisy disturbance between a man and a woman could be heard inside, as well as a crying infant.

Police officers ordered the man to go to the front door. The man complied, but officers say he was holding a handgun. According to investigators, an officer allegedly opened fire, having no other option. The 28-year-old male in the doorway was allegedly struck by police gunfire. He was quickly transported to a nearby hospital, where he later passed away.

Police said the woman inside the home had significant lacerations. She was also transported to the same hospital for treatment and is expected to fully recover. The infant was not injured.

According to investigators, the woman may have been assaulted by the man, who allegedly threatened to kill her and the baby. The identities of the individuals involved have not yet been released.

The man allegedly did not fire at the officer, a preliminary investigation shows. Body camera footage is being reviewed, to determine whether the suspect pointed the handgun at the police officer, according to Blankenbaker.

The investigation hasn’t yet uncovered a motive for the man allegedly firing gunshots into the neighbor’s home.

–Guest Contributor

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Police Misconduct Lawyer Plano, Texas – The Sandra Bland Act is Now Law, and County Jails Prepare for New Rules

Monday, June 19th, 2017

English: The Waller County Courthouse located ...

English: The Waller County Courthouse located at 29.5816° -95.7617°, Hempstead, Texas, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Thursday, June 15, 2017, a law requiring county jails to provide inmates who may have mental health problems with treatment was signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The legislation is known as the Sandra Bland Act. It was named after a 28-year-old woman who was famously pulled over in Waller County for an alleged minor traffic violation, and the police officer’s dash cam captured a controversial exchange between them. They ended up in an off-camera scuffle. She was arrested for alleged assault of a police officer. Bland was discovered hanging in her jail cell three days later. Her death was ruled a suicide. After her death, it was found that she may have been suffering from various health issues, including depression.

The Senate version of the bill was sponsored by Democrat Senator John Whitmire and was written by Democrat Representative Garnet Coleman. According to Coleman, in the past year in Texas county jails, 26 people have committed suicide.

The problem of jail suicide deaths is addressed in the new law. Jail employees are required to be provided with more de-escalation and mental health training. Local sheriff’s departments are now required to inform a judge within 12 hours if an individual in their custody is possibly dealing with mental disability or a mental health issue of some kind. Previously, deputies had a 3-day period in which to provide the same type of notification. In addition to quickly notifying a judge, a mental health professional must examine the individual, who may possibly be moved to a mental health facility.

In Bell County, Texas, things are in motion to ensure that the jail staff has 24-7 access to a mental health expert, which may mean the use of a teleconference. Cpt. Byron Shelton of Bell County Jail said a county jail is not the place for people in mental health crisis.

Because of the Sandra Bland Act, counties have permission to develop new programs which will place people with mental illnesses into care facilities, including many homeless individuals, which is a much better solution than putting them behind bars.

–Guest Contributor

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Police Misconduct Lawyer – Some in Garland TX Community Are Outraged Regarding a Former Police Officer

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

Image showing front of North Garland High School

Image showing front of North Garland High School (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A police officer in Garland, Texas, was captured on video allegedly beating a 37-year-old suspect after removing his handcuffs. The officer allegedly punched him seven times and gave him a knee-kick to the face. The officer was given a 56-day suspension, which is the longest suspension in the police department’s history. It was announced this week that the officer will not face criminal charges, and the community is outraged.

The suspect admits to being inebriated when the incident occurred. He also says he taunted the officer and challenged him to a fight. After the alleged attack by the officer, the suspect had several large bruises and required eight staples to close a gash on his head.  The officer has resigned.

A former police chief from the area commented on the video, saying that she was appalled by the incident. She said that, in her opinion, it was an assault. Based only on the video evidence, she further stated that if the decision had been hers, she would have fired the police officer and filed criminal assault charges with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office.

The Garland Police Department has not released a statement with regard to this decision not to fire the officer and not to file criminal charges against him. The suspect in the case said that he regrets taunting the officer but he also believes criminal charges against him would be appropriate.

–Guest Contributor

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Police Misconduct Lawyer – A 14-year-old Girl is Allegedly Punched by a San Antonio, Texas, Police Officer

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

The Alamo Mission in San Antonio located at 29...

The Alamo Mission in San Antonio located at 29.4257° -98.4863°, San Antonio, Texas, United States. The structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Sunday, May 21, 2017, a video was posted on social media showing a 14-year-old African-American girl being detained with what appears to be alleged excessive force by three police officers with the San Antonio, Texas, Police Department (SAPD). There are also alleged claims that the teen was punched by one of the police officers with a closed fist or that the video at least allegedly shows that it happened. The video has gone viral. It can reasonably be expected to contribute to the growing sentiment that law enforcement officials in Texas and the U.S. allegedly disproportionately use excessive force against armed and unarmed members of the black community.

On the night of May 20, the teen who was the subject of the alleged excessive police force attended a quinceañera. An altercation occurred inside the venue, and those attending the party were all kicked out. The teen girl who was arrested had not been involved in the initial altercation. However, she was charged with assaulting a public servant and was arrested. Witnesses claim that the girl allegedly did not strike an officer.

The teen claims that she requested an ice pack at the scene and was not given one, nor did she receive any type of medical attention. From the time of arrest until Monday afternoon, the girl was held at the juvenile detention center.

Police Chief William McManus made a statement regarding the teen’s arrest. He gave assurance that the incident is being investigated, to make sure Department policies are being complied with by law enforcement officials.

–Guest Contributor

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Police Misconduct Attorney Fort Worth – Two Fort Worth Police Department Assistant Chiefs are Demoted Regarding Leaked Video

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Fort Worth, Texas. Taken from the Amon Carter ...

Fort Worth, Texas. Taken from the Amon Carter Museum looking east. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald of the Fort Worth Police Department (FWPD) announced on Friday, May 19, 2017, that two assistance police chiefs have been demoted to captain in connection with the unauthorized leak of a body camera video that shows the controversial arrest that a white officer made of a black woman and her two daughters. Fitzgerald also said that he will recommend that one of the officers is bumped down further to sergeant. The other of the two will also be suspended for three days. The chief said that the decision was difficult, since both men were friends as well as colleagues that he trusted. The investigation into the leakage of the video, which went viral, has continued since it was uploaded to a public website on January 18. The reason for the investigation was because the video contained juveniles. Also, personnel files are confidential and are supposed to remain that way, according to the FWPD.

The leaked video was taken of a December 21, 2016, incident that has been the cause of widespread outrage. A woman in the neighborhood of Rock Garden in southwest Fort Worth called the police to report that a neighbor assaulted her 7-year-old son. Fort Worth police officers went to the scene, and that’s when the controversial police incident involving alleged excessive force occurred.

The footage shows the white police officer at the scene allegedly wrestling the woman who called the police to the ground. He also allegedly pointed a stun gun at her daughters. He then arrested all three of them. The officer was suspended for 10 days for what occurred on December 21. The charges were later dropped against the woman and her daughters.

The woman’s attorney pointed out that the core values of the FWPD seem clear, with one officer allegedly assaulting black women and allegedly falsifying documents getting a 10-day suspension and officers who break the alleged tradition of turning a blind eye to alleged racism, corruption and, and brutality being far more severely punished. The officers who have been demoted are both black, as is Chief Fitzgerald.

–Guest Contributor

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Fort Worth Police Officer is on Trial for Shooting a Man Holding a BBQ Fork

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

English: Courtyard by Marriott Fort Worth Down...

English: Courtyard by Marriott Fort Worth Downtown-Blackstone in 2000. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On June 23, 2015, a Fort Worth police officer allegedly shot a black man in the arm while responding to a complaint about the man by a neighbor. The mentally challenged man, Craigory Adams, had been holding a barbeque fork. That officer was later charged with the first-degree felony of aggravated assault by a public servant, which carries a maximum punishment of life in prison. The indictment has two counts and accuses the officer of switching off the safety switch and sliding the pump action rifle back and forward while pointing it towards Adams. The 35-year-old officer is on trial this week for what he claims was an accident that happened because his shotgun went off accidentally.

The claims of the Fort Worth Police Department officials include:

  • The police chief believes race was not a factor in the alleged shooting. The officer is white and Adams is black.
  • The shotgun accidentally went off, making it an unintentional alleged shooting.
  • The officer’s actions demonstrate that he allegedly failed to follow his training.

The police chief released the dashcam video of the incident. It’s nighttime, and you can see the officer approach Adams. The officer allegedly failed to identify himself as a law enforcement officer as he approached. When he drove up, it was without lights or sirens activated. The officer gave Adams a series of commands. Adams dropped the two-pronged barbeque fork and then dropped to one knee. The officer then called for backup. After a few moments, the officer radioed dispatch and reported that shots were fired, having allegedly shot Adams in the arm moments before. He then immediately called for emergency medical assistance, recordings show.

The police officer on trial has been on desk duty since this incident occurred. In Tarrant County, officers in alleged police shootings frequently do not end up being indicted on any charges, which has been alleged and spotlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement. Learn more about these types of cases in this ongoing series.

–Guest Contributor

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Police Misconduct Attorney San Antonio – The Texas Senate Passes a Purportedly Weakened Sandra Bland Act – Part 2

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

English: Photograph of the skyline of Downtown...

English: Photograph of the skyline of Downtown Houston, Texas Español: Una foto del panorama urbano de Downtown Houston Category:Images of Houston, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Thursday, May 11, 2017, the Sandra Bland Act was unanimously passed by Texas Senators. The bill addresses criminal justice reform issues related to the death of Sandra Bland, who was found dead, hanging in a Waller County, Texas, jail cell three days after an arrest resulting from a routine traffic stop. An investigation was done, and her death was declared a suicide. The family is disheartened by the final wording in the bill, since it left out elements they think more meaningfully address the issues that resulted in Bland’s death.

The Black Lives Matter movement gained much of its national momentum after Sandra Bland’s 2015 death following a traffic stop near Houston, Texas, in which she was pulled over for not using her turn signals before changing lanes. Her confrontation with the police officer who requested that she put out her cigarette ended with her being pulled from her car by force and then getting into an off-dash-cam altercation with the officer, who arrested her. Although Bland’s death in the jail cell three days later was ruled a suicide, jail procedures have been called into question.

The reforms that Bland’s family hoped would be enacted in the Sandra Bland Act were cut from the bill before being approved by the Texas Senate. Bland’s sister said the bill as it is “renders Sandy invisible.” The family still wants the legislation to be named after her, however.

In its original form, the bill would have required a higher burden of proof for officers to stop and search automobiles, additional training and counseling for law enforcement officers who are perceived to racially profile motorists, and ban arrests for offenses punishable only by a fine.

See Part 1 of this two-part series, for more information.

–Guest Contributor

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Grand Jury Does Not Charge Friendswood Police Officer in 2016 Fatal Shooting – Part 2

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

English: A photo I took of a Fremont Police Of...

English: A photo I took of a Fremont Police Officer during a traffic stop. To be used for purposes of showing the vehicle. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week a grand jury handed down a decision with regard to the alleged fatal police shooting of Toby Cummins on November 29, 2016. A police officer discovered Cummins, who fit the description of the suspect, walking on S. Friendswood Drive and told him to stop. The suspect refused and then allegedly lunged at the police officer with an open box cutter. The police officer claimed that he was in fear for his life and he then allegedly shot the suspect four times. Cummins later died at a hospital.

The videos of the Friendswood police shooting were not released until this week. When the decision to keep the recordings from the public eye during the investigation was made, according to Kelly Shannon, executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, it was because of the highly controversial and highly publicized dashcam video of a traffic stop leading to the arrest of Sandra Bland.

Bland was an African-American woman who had a confrontation with a police officer and famously refused to extinguish her cigarette inside of her car. She ended up being arrested after an altercation with the officer who pulled her over. Three days later, Bland was found dead in her cell, having apparently committed suicide in the Waller County jail. The dashcam video of her traffic stop went viral across the world, and Bland’s story has been a rallying point for cries of alleged racial discrimination by law enforcement officials and alleged police brutality.

There are numerous bodycam shots and dashcam videos of the alleged police shooting in Friendswood, now available for public view.

In the Cummins’ case, the family members question why the officer felt the need to use deadly force. They don’t understand why a person with a box cutter can’t be stopped with a stun gun or shots that don’t kill. The use of alleged excessive force is also a theme of a growing outcry today, calling for police to be held accountable for their actions.

See Part1 of this two-part series.

–Guest Contributor

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More Facts Emerge about the Alleged Police Shooting of Teen Jordan Edwards

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

English: Category:Images of Dallas, Texas

English: Category:Images of Dallas, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Authorities have released information that was reportedly pivotal in the decision to charge a police officer with murder in the death of Jordan Edwards, an unarmed African-American 15-year-old who was a straight-A student at Mesquite High School. Edwards was allegedly shot by a Balch Springs, Texas, police officer on April 29, 2017, resulting in national outrage. Balch Springs is a suburb of Dallas.

It was already known that police officers were at the address where the alleged shooting took place because of a call about underage drinking at a party. The officers were first inside the house and then heard shots and went outside.

The new information is partly from two of Edwards’ friend, who were riding in the back seat of the car he was shot in.

The officer who allegedly shot Edwards went to his patrol car when he ran outside. According to the warrant for his arrest, he got his department-issued rifle, a Modern Carbine, at that time, though the documents indicate it was not clear why he took that action.

The other officer ran to the vehicle Edwards, two of his brothers, and two friends were in. That officer instructed the driver to stop the car, but he didn’t. At that time, the car moved in reverse and then that same officer showed his weapon, a handgun, and told the teen again to stop the vehicle. The driver stopped momentarily and then began moving forward, the warrant says.

At that time, the officer used his gun to punch and break the rear passenger-side window. The officer who had grabbed his rifle was behind the other officer and to the right. The officer with the rifle at that point allegedly shot at the car several times as it drove past him. One of the shots allegedly struck Edwards in the forehead.

Authorities with the Balch Springs Police Department said the department discourages officers from shooting at moving vehicles. If an officer feels he must shoot at a car, it should only be if someone’s life is in danger, and shots should only be fired at the driver’s side.

In further more recent news, Edwards’ family has filed a civil lawsuit against the police officer who allegedly shot him. The family’s lawyer cited numerous occasions in which the officer allegedly demonstrated that he had a “short fuse,” including a recent incident in which he allegedly pulled a gun on a woman who rear-ended his vehicle.

–Guest Contributor

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