HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – A woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy after leaving a popular Midtown nightclub has filed a lawsuit, with her lawyer saying the officer should have never been allowed to work around women due to his previous criminal charges.
Michael Jarell Hines, 31, was charged with felony sexual assault. The incident occurred in 2020, but charges against him were not officially filed until August 2021.
The woman, who identified herself as 33-year-old Shanita Terrell, filed the federal civil rights lawsuit against Hines. She and her lawyer, civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen, held a press conference on Wednesday speaking about the case.
Here’s what happened:
According to details outlined in the lawsuit, on Feb. 23, 2020, Deputy Hines was working an approved extra job at the popular nightclub, “The Address.” The deputy was wearing his Harris County Sheriff’s Office uniform, badge and was carrying his duty weapon. He was also driving his marked HCSO vehicle.
Terrell, a wife and a mother of two, went to patronize the establishment, where one of her family members worked, but by the end of the night, she was “not in her usual state of mind,” according to legal documents.
The document stated that Hines and another deputy, also dressed in uniform, used their authority to put Terrell in the front seat of Hines’ squad car where they claimed she would be taken home.
The next morning, Terrell reported feeling pain and believed something happened to her sexually. She decided to go to the hospital where a rape kit was administered. The rape kit showed that sexual activity had taken place. Terrell told investigators that she did not consent to have sex with anyone.
DNA later matched body fluids left on Terrell to Hines, which led to charges being filed, according to investigators.
Terrell and her attorney feel that Hines is not the only party responsible. At the press conference, Kallinen said Harris County should also be held accountable due to Hines’ history, which may have - or should have - been of knowledge to his agency.
According to documents, Hines was also previously arrested for sexual assault of a child in Sept. 2018. He was “no-billed” by a Harris County Grand Jury. Additionally, Hines was arrested on July 18, 2021 for an assault involving a family member in Harris County.
“The Harris County Sheriff’s Office should not have had this deputy working, let alone working around women who could be taken advantage of,” said Kallinen. “The People of Harris County are fed up with misconduct by law enforcement. We need know if there are other victims out there.”