A Texas man has sued his local police department, saying he was arrested for taking a picture of a police officer when the officer entered his home without permission.
According to the lawsuit (PDF), Sgt. Justin Alderete of the Sealy, Texas, police department arrived at the home of Francisco Olvera in October, 2009, apparently responding to a noise complaint. Olvera had been playing music on his computer speakers while working outside on his patio.
The sergeant asked Olvera for identification. When Olvera went inside his home to grab his ID, Sgt. Alderete followed him inside. Believing the officer didn’t have a right to enter his home without permission, Olvera picked up his cellphone and took a photo of the officer. At that point, the lawsuit states, Alderete accused Olvera of “illegal photography” and arrested him.
Olvera was charged with “loud music” and “public intoxication” — the officer had seen a beer can on the kitchen table, the lawsuit asserts.
In January, Olvera was acquitted of all charges.
The lawsuit names Alderete, Sealy Police Chief John Tollett, and the city of Sealy. It alleges that Olvera was the victim of “unlawful search and seizure,” “unlawful arrest” and “malicious prosecution.”
The lawsuit further alleges that Alderete made a racist remark against Olvera during booking.
“Do you know what I tell Mexicans when they get loud?” the lawsuit alleges Alderete asked. “No chinges con migo pinche culero.” (“Don’t be f**king with me,” another officer translated,)
Olvera’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for his legal costs in the criminal trial; for “emotional distress” and punitive damages “as allowed by law.”
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