Man files lawsuit against deputy after case of mistaken identity

By Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - The man who alleged a Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constable wrongly targeted him, mistaking him for a fugitive from Louisiana, filed a lawsuit Wednesday. It alleges his constitutional rights were violated. 

Clarence Evans accused Deputy Constable Garrett Lindley of unlawfully approaching him.

"Instead of patrolling neighborhoods looking for crime, how about patrolling a neighborhood and meeting residents on a first name basis?" Evans said to reporters. 

WHAT'S IN THE LAWSUIT? 

According to the lawsuit: 

"Lindley stated the reason that he needed to enter Mr. Evans' front yard to his home was to investigate a call that Evans' dog, Buckshot, was stolen. Evans quickly made Lindley aware that Buckshot had been with the family since the dog was a puppy and was never lost or reported stolen, adding that his dog was chipped...

"Clarence Evans was detained by Lindley under false pretenses. Lindley claimed Mr. Evand had a felony warrant out of Louisiana. Lindley never produced any warrant for anyone with a felony out of Louisiana." 

CELLPHONE VIDEO, RECORDED BY EVANS' WIFE, IS MENTIONED REPEATEDLY IN THE LAWSUIT

In cellphone video, which has gone viral, Deputy Constable Lindley said he was looking for a man named Quintin from Louisiana. 

Lindley appeared to take Evans into custody, as Evans yelled repeatedly that he isn't Quintin. Eventually, a second deputy constable arrived, who retrieved a cellphone from his duty vehicle, showing a picture of the man for whom authorities were looking. 

The lawsuit alleges: 

"Lindley presented Evan's with nothing more than the cellphone image, never an actual warrant or other information to show Mr. Evans was wanted. The mistaken identity was obvious to Mr. Evans, his wife and the second deputy." 

UNLAWFUL ENTRY? 

At a press conference Wednesday, Evans' attorneys laid out their case. 

"Mr. Lindley entered the property and also grabbed Mr. Evans' wallet from him and snatched it from his hand and illegally searched through that wallet for his identification," said U.A. Lewis, Evans' attorney. 

Once Lindley saw that Evans had told the truth, Evans was let go. 

HARRIS COUNTY PRECINCT 4's RESPONSE 

Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman addressed reporters after Evans' legal team did so. 

"We don't know what the motivation here is," Herman said.  

Herman maintained despite the cellphone video and Evans speaking to the media, no formal complaint to his office has been filed. He said no internal investigation could occur until a complaint was filed. 

"I would encourage these folks, if they have a complaint, to file a complaint," he said. 

As the wallet discrepancy is concerned, Herman said he sees things differently. 

"Anytime there is a time where there is a situation where an officer asks you for identification, especially under lawful means, which is what this was, you should show that identification," Herman said. 

Evans' attorneys say nothing about this was legal. 

"We want to ask this constables office to be more accountable for the actions of their employee," said Andre Evans, another of Evans' attorneys. 

WHO IS QUINTIN PREJEAN? 

Quintin Prejean has outstanding felony warrants in Louisiana on narcotics charges, according to Herman. 

"There were actually representatives from Louisiana here -- that's who we got the information from," Herman said, continuing, "We were specifically told that he is right near that area." 

Herman said Prejean remains at large. Calls to the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office were not returned. 

Either way, Clarence Evans is not Quintin Prejean. 

"Honestly, I see Mr. Evans' viewpoint from it, I really do -- but I also see the cops' viewpoint," Herman said. 

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