Because drug possession offenses are crimes that do not pose a threat of violence, officers are only supposed to use a minimal amount of force to take someone into custody.
A traffic stop in Houston turned violent when the officer on the scene was attempting to make an arrest for marijuana possession, but hit the suspect multiple times before leaving the area.
Man hit multiple times outside of a convenience store during arrest for marijuana
Both the account given by the victim and written in the police report start the same way. The incident began with a traffic stop. The vehicle was pulled over for going through a red light and having a tail light out. The victim pulled his car into a Fiesta Mart convenience store parking lot nearby and complied with the officer’s request to exit the car after he said that he smelled marijuana.
The details of the story start to become unclear at this point. The police say that both the driver and the passenger of the vehicle were quickly taken into custody after a short foot chase without further incident. The victim states that he was slammed to the ground and knocked on conscious while speaking with the officer as his passenger fled. He was also hit multiple times in the head while witnesses from the nearby convenience store watched. The officer only apparently stopped dealing the blows after people from the store began to notice and ask him what was happening. The police reports related to the arrest made no mention of the injured man resisting arrest, attempting to flee, or creating any threat of violence to the officer or others nearby.
The injury lawsuit filed by the victim states that he had to be treated for multiple blood clots around his face area. This was after the victim was turned away from medical staff at the jail and released to a hospital because they lacked the supplies to treat these severe injuries. The lawsuit also claims that the victim’s face still has not returned to normal since the incident occurred.
The relevant use of force standard
The reasons that this man or others like him can file a lawsuit is related to use of force protocols. When someone is taken into custody for a non-violent offense such as drug possession, there is no reason to use force at all unless the suspect is resisting or armed. Most use of force protocols for police departments around the country state that police are generally only allowed to use physical force or draw there weapons when there is a threat of danger to others or the officers on the scene created by the suspect. Another common problem is that officers will continue to use force after a suspect is detained and at rest, as happened in this incident.
Talk to lawyers who specialize in police brutality cases
If you have been injured by the police in Houston or nearby parts of Texas, expert attorneys can provide assistance. Reich and Binstock Attorneys at Law have been helping injured people for decades.