Texas Lawmen Want to be Stars
HOUSTON (CN) - Texas lawmen broke into a woman's house without a warrant to arrest her on bogus marijuana charges, and filmed it for a constable's YouTube reality show, the 61-year-old woman claims in court.
Perla Carr sued Montgomery County, Texas, its District Attorney Brett Ligon, its Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth "Rowdy" Hayden, Precinct 4 Chief Barry Welch and three other deputy constables, in Federal Court.
Carr claims that "loud noises of someone breaking into her home" woke her up at around 10:15 p.m. on Sept. 22, 2011.
"The intruders called Perla out of her bedroom and when she came out of the bedroom there was at least one gun with laser sights pointed at her chest by law enforcement officers with Precinct 4, Montgomery County, Texas," the complaint states.
The five constables searched every room and arrested Carr's son for felony marijuana possession, Carr says in the lawsuit.
"Perla was put into handcuffs and made to sit in a lawn chair outside the residence," according to the complaint. "The handcuffs were very tight and caused extreme pain.
"After searching Perla's residence and finding alleged marijuana plants deputy Eric McHugh under the direction and knowledge of at least Constable Hayden, Chief Welch and Supervisor Berglund wrote up a materially false and misleading affidavit to support a search warrant."
The affidavit falsely stated the constables saw marijuana through the window the home and smelled before breaking in, and left out that they had searched the residence without a warrant, Carr says.
The phony affidavit worked, Carr says, as a judge signed a search warrant that arrived two hours after the break-in.
Carr was charged with felony marijuana possession, but it was dismissed for lack of evidence, she says. (Graph 20)
"Sometime after Perla's case was dismissed in her favor, Perla discovered a video on YouTube of the defendants breaking into her home with a crowbar through the front door. ... The video was for a reality television show called 'Texas Takedown' and is currently available to view on the Internet," the complaint states. "All defendants were aware of the filming of the incident involving Perla and 'Texas Takedown.'
"Also, the recently discovered video shows Constable Hayden talking on the phone to DA Ligon prior to the crowbar break-in, who advises Constable Hayden to 'force entry.'"
The complaint includes a link to the video.
According to a review of the site on Vimeo.com: "Texas TakeDown is a new police show that focuses on Constable Kenneth 'Rowdy' Hayden and his 'Men in Black' as they fight crime in the badlands of East Montgomery County, Texas - a region flooded with crystal meth, drug dealers, and violence."
Carr seeks punitive damages for civil rights violations and conspiracy.
She is represented by Randall Kallinen of Houston.
District Attorney Ligon's office did not respond to a request for comment.