Mom sues police over arrest

Says she was wrongly accused of child endangerment

Published On: Sep 07 2012 09:47:35 PM CDT   Updated On: Sep 08 2012 11:16:06 AM CDT
LA PORTE, Texas -

A stay-at-home mom from La Porte has filed a lawsuit against the city's police department, an unknown officer and one of her neighbors. 

Tammy Cooper said she was wrongly accused of endangering her children and was even forced to spend the night in jail, all because she let her kids play outside. 

She said her children, ages 9 and 6, were riding their motorized scooters in the cul-de-sac where they live while she watched from a lawn chair in her front yard just a few feet away.

"I was out there the entire time," Cooper said. "I never left that lawn chair the entire time."

Cooper said a little while later, a La Porte police car pulled up in front of her home. 

"I went out there to see what he was here for and he said, 'Ma'am, we're here for you.' I said, 'Oh really? Why?' He proceeded to tell me he had received a call from one of my neighbors that my kids were riding their scooters unsupervised. 

Cooper said she was handcuffed, put in the back of a police car and forced to spend the night in jail. 

"Orange jumpsuit, in a cell, slammed the door, for 18 hours," Cooper said.

The charges against her were eventually dropped but she still describes the ordeal as humiliating and said her children were even questioned by police  and terrified.

"My daughter had him (the police officer) around the leg saying, "Please, please don't take my mom to jail.  Please, she didn't do anything wrong,'" said Cooper. 

The La Porte Police department issued a statement saying;

"...we are confident in the known actions of the responding officers. In addition, officers did contact the Harris County District Attorney's Office while on the scene that evening, upon which their Office accepted charges of Abandoning a Child on Ms. Cooper."

Cooper said the ordeal has been stressful, time consuming and costly.  She said her family has already shelled out $7,000 in legal fees.

"I hope that what I went through doesn't go unpunished - that there are consequences for a bad decision," Cooper said.