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Don’t Mess With Texas Constables

HOUSTON (CN) - A Texas constable arrested a tow yard worker who wouldn't release a truck to him, and said he would figure out later why he arrested her, the woman claims in court.

Joyce Smith sued Timothy Allison on Oct. 30 in Harris County Court.

Allison, 55, is Liberty County's Precinct 1 constable, but Smith sued him in his individual, not official, capacity.

Liberty County, northeast of Harris County, is part of suburban Houston.

Smith claims a man who identified himself as a Liberty County constable called her workplace, Harris County Writ, on Nov. 1, 2012.

"This individual stated he would be coming to HCW to retrieve a truck. The man's tone was harsh, aggressive, and threatening, as he told plaintiff she would 'regret it' if she did not release the vehicle," the complaint states.

Just after Smith's shift ended that afternoon, she says, Allison showed up at the tow yard with a large man he identified as his son-in-law, (nonparty) James McCollum. Allison himself is 6 feet 1 inch tall and 240 pounds, court records show.

Allison demanded to speak to Smith's supervisor, who told the constable by phone the truck would not be released to him "without payment and proper paperwork," the complaint states.

The denial set Allison off, Smith says.

"When defendant hung up the phone, he began to threaten plaintiff with jail time if she did not release the car," according to the complaint. "Plaintiff continued to attempt to reason with defendant, however, defendant's tone became more aggressive as he slowly came closer and closer to plaintiff with his hand on his Taser.

"Plaintiff asked to speak with defendant's supervisor during this time, but defendant responded by yelling that he was the 'boss' and that the people of Liberty County 'elected me to do what I want to do.'"

Smith says she moved to the office window, waiting for her boss to arrive, and Allison came up behind her and handcuffed her.

"Plaintiff began to cry hysterically and asked why defendant was arresting her. Defendant responded by saying he did not know and would 'figure it out later,'" the complaint states.

Before Allison could put Smith in his patrol car, Harris County sheriff's deputies arrived, "prompting defendant to uncuff plaintiff," according to the lawsuit.

"The officers learned that the truck belonged to an electrical company in which the constable had a financial and/or business interest, and Mr. McCollum was not defendant's son-in-law, but rather, an electrician working for defendant," Smith says.

Prosecutors charged Allison with misdemeanor official oppression over the incident, to which he pleaded no contest, according to the complaint.

Smith says Allison hurt her shoulder and neck detaining her, and she "dreaded going to work" after the incident for fear Allison would come harass her.

She seeks damages for assault and false imprisonment.

She is represented by Cris Feldman of Houston.

Allison did not respond to a request for comment.

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