SAN ANGELO, Texas — A man field a federal lawsuit against three San Angelo police officers claiming he was wrongfully arrested.
Jack Miller was grocery shopping at Walmart with his 3-year-old son on Oct. 4 when he was approached by San Angelo police.Officer Trey Mayberry asked Miller if he had been drinking and explained someone called to report an intoxicated driver with a child in the parking lot.
Miller told them he had not had anything to drink.
When they asked for his name, Miller responded, “Jack.”
Officer Raymond Francis then asked Miller if he had any ID.
Miller told them he did but that he was not required to give it to them.“I don’t think you understand what this is. This is not you get to tell us what is what,” said Mayberry. “We are trying to identify who you are and you are making that difficult.”
Officer Michael Webber told Miller if he did not show them his ID, he would be arrested for failure to identify.
“Then, we’re going to call (Child Protective Services) to come pick up your kid,” Webber said.
Miller tried explaining that you can only be charged with failure to identify if you refuse to ID yourself after you have been arrested.
The officers then placed Miller in handcuffs.According to the lawsuit, the officers assaulted Miller by “unnecessarily pinning his neck against the top edge of a cooler and raising his handcuffed wrists behind his back until they injured his rotator cuff in his shoulder.”
“You shouldn’t be in fear that you’re going to be slammed up against an ice chest and assaulted and arrested and taken away from your child simply because you exercise your legal rights,” said James Roberts, Miller’s attorney, told KTXS.
According to the lawsuit. Miller’s son is “terrified to go to the store, because he believes the police will show up and take his father away.”
The toddler used to enjoy playing “cops and robbers” where he would be the police officer trying to catch the “bad guys.”
But that changed after the incident at Walmart.
Miller is seeking punitive damages. How much, his attorney said, is up to a jury.
“No amount of money would really fix it,” Miller told KTXS.
We reached out to the San Angelo Police Department about the arrest and lawsuit. They referred us to Chief Frank Carter’s statement.
The responding officers clearly mishandled the incident through a mistake in law. The expectation is that all SAPD officers know the law and apply it properly and a failure to do so does not meet our policy or standards. We are very fortunate that one of our Patrol Supervisors swiftly intervened and prevented further harm to this man by releasing him before he was taken to jail. I recognize incidents such as this can lead to losing public confidence in police and I take our responsibilities to the public very seriously. It only takes one incident like this to undo the years of hard work and positive interactions by so many officers who are truly dedicated to protecting and serving the public.
My administration is aware of the depth of feeling surrounding this incident as well as the issue of police misconduct in our society. We are committed to policing our community with dignity, respect, fairness, and empathy — and when those important values are not being met — we will do everything we can to learn from it and take corrective action.
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