A Texas woman has filed a lawsuit against three police officers in Victoria, claiming that they brutally beat her and broke her ribs without a good reason.
Mary Frances Jones told the Victoria Advocate that the three police officers woke her up early in the morning on Dec. 22, 2013 over reports that a truck that she had purchased the day before had been seen driving in a local creek.
Jones said that she had been unaware at the time that her sons borrowed the truck while she was sleeping. After officers claimed that she was lying about owning the truck, Jones said she tried to go back inside her home, and that’s when they forced her to the ground.
“One of them had his foot on my arm, and the other kicked me and broke my ribs,” she recalled. “They hurt me. They hurt me bad, and they know they did.”
According to Jones, she had to plead no contest to a charge of disorderly conduct-vulgar language so that she could go to the hospital. Her fiance, 50-year-old Mathew Milberger and two sons, William and Danny Wallace, were also arrested and charged with disorderly conduct-vulgar language.
A police report filed by Officer D. Stone accused Jones and her family of yelling, “F*ck the police, f*ck yall, and various other profanities.” The report noted that Jones’ son was shocked with a Taser, but it did not mention that she suffered broken ribs, black eyes and other injuries.
Jones said the broken ribs eventually resulted in pneumonia, which left her on a ventilator. In all, she had been in the hospital six times because of the beating, she said.
Attorney Christopher J. Gale, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Jones, said that police had made her pay for showing “disrespect.”
“I think the police, while they’re trained in the concepts of law enforcement, they are not trained in regards to the application of them,” Gale explained. “When you express your opinion in any form or fashion with any kind of words and walk away from them, that’s a sign of disrespect.”
“It’s completely and utterly constitutional to walk away from somebody,” he added. “They’re just going to make you pay the price. That’s concerning. This is not a police state.”
The lawsuit accuses the officers of false arrest and imprisonment. And it asserts that Jones’ constitutional rights were violated because officers went beyond the “reasonableness” standard set by the Fourth Amendment. Jones is seeking $1 million in damages.
The Texas Rangers recently launched an investigation after another officer with the Victoria Police Department used a Taser on a 76-year-old man while he was already on the ground.