There is an extraordinary case out of Texas involving a mother who was reportedly arrested for simply asking to see a warrant before police could enter her home to arrest her son. What is most remarkable to this story is that the family’s lawyer told the media that the Slaton Police Department was only willing to apologize if the family waived any right to sue it for the unlawful and abusive arrest. That demand alone, if true, should result in the immediate termination of the police chief as well as the disciplining of any prosecutor who conveyed the demand in my view. Citizens should not have to trade away legal rights to receive an apology for allegedly abusive police conduct.
The mother said that she was aware that there was a criminal complaint made against her 11-year-old son and simply told police “I will release my son to you upon viewing those orders.’ She says that the officer responded:
“He said, ‘This is how you want to play?’ He took two steps back, turned around to the officer and said, ‘Take her.’ They turned me around, handcuffed me, and took me in.”
She spent the night in jail and police left the boy at the house. He was never arrested. Her lawyer says that it turns out that there was no warrant since the encounter occurred on May 29 but the directive to apprehend was not signed until May 30.
They are considering litigation and I cannot imagine why they would not sue based on these facts.
The police website pledges to “Preserve for all citizens, the rights guaranteed by the U.S. and Texas Constitutions.” According to this family, however, that is only if citizens promise first not to sue for the denial of those rights.