HOUSTON – "Give me your f------ hands or I'll shoot you in the face," can be heard on police body camera video during the arrest of Jerold Griffin in 2016 at Mayfield Park in Sugar Land.
A lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday accuses three Sugar Land police officers of unlawfully detaining Griffin, "then tackled, kicked, punched, and kneed Jerold, causing broken ribs and a fractured eye socket," court documents show.
Documents also said, "The City of Sugar Land’s Police Department has a custom, policy, practice, and procedure of using excessive force on individuals and not disciplining or training officers adequately and is therefore liable under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 and 1988. The events and violations discussed above were ratified by the department when they determined that the officers’ actions were consistent with department policy."
The officers were listed in the complaint as Sugar Land police officers J. Young, M. Shockey and L. Jones.
Attorneys for Griffin said there was no reason to search their client in the first place.
"Jerold was unlawfully detained, arrested and searched by defendant Young without consent, warrant, probable cause, reasonable suspicion, or any other lawful reason. The force used by the individually named defendants was in great excess to the need to use such force and constituted an unreasonable seizure of Jerold and violated his due process rights under the 4th and 14th Amendment," documents show.
The Sugar Land released a statement Thursday:
The city of Sugar Land and the Sugar Land Police Department are aware of a federal lawsuit filed by Jerold Griffen (sic).
Griffin was arrested and charged with possession of illegal narcotics and resisting arrest in September 2016. A patrol officer saw Griffen (sic) was sitting in a neighborhood park just before midnight. The park was closed, so the officer called for backup, and Griffen (sic) was questioned. The man provided conflicting information to police officers – at different times during the conversation, he told police he had no place to stay, didn't have enough money to pay for a ride to work and had family members living in the immediate neighborhood. When asked if he had anything illegal in his possession, he became erratic and started placing his hands in his pockets and waistband. He was told to remove his hands. He refused and ran away. He was quickly caught and actively fought with the officers. Once in custody, illegal narcotics and cash were found concealed on him. He sustained minor injuries. EMS was called, but Griffen (sic) refused treatment and transport to a hospital. He was later transported to Fort Bend County Jail.