Police Officer Fights Back, in Court

     AUSTIN, Texas (CN) — An Austin police officer sued a man who he claims gave him a concussion in a drunken assault, and whose “prominent family” used their political influence to get the district attorney to drop a felony charge.
     Albert Matthew Arevalo sued Derek Andrew Johnson in Travis County Court on July 19, seeking $74,999 in damages for assault.
     Arevalo says he was on duty on Feb. 27, 2015, when he entered Dirty Bills bar, off West Sixth Street in downtown Austin, for a drink of water.
     Upon entering, Arevalo says, he heard an employee telling Johnson to leave because he was intoxicated. Arevalo says he saw Johnson leaning against the bar and swaying.
     Arevalo says he too asked the drunk man to leave the bar, to which Johnson responded, “Fuck you!”
     When Arevalo told Johnson he was a police officer and asked him again to leave the bar, he got the same response.
     When the officer took one of Johnson’s arms to escort him out of the bar Johnson “struck Officer Arevalo in the jaw, with a closed fist, causing him to suffer pain and dysfunction,” according to the complaint.
     Arevalo managed to pull Johnson from the bar and onto the street, where a bystander helped him subdue and handcuff Johnson.
     But Johnson, who is 6 feet 4 inches tall and 250 pounds, continued resisting arrest and “committed several more assaults by contact as he shoved and pulled against the plaintiff’s lawful arrest of defendant,” the complaint states.
     As he arrested Johnson, Arevalo says, Johnson told him, “I’m going to fucking kill you!” and “Do you know who my family is?”
     Arevalo says he suffered bruises, contusions, abrasions and a concussion. But the Travis County District Attorney’s Office “failed” him, the officer says.
     “Defendant comes from a prominent family in Canada who apparently used their political influence to convince the Travis County District Attorney’s Office to dismiss the felony criminal ‘Assault on a Public Servant’ charges,'” Arevalo says in the complaint.
     Arevalo’s attorney Kevin Madison told Courthouse News that the director of the trial bureau, “Buddy Meyer, at the District Attorney’s Office, told my client that the defendant had no prior criminal record and that if they pursued a felony assault charge it could cause the defendant problems with his work visa, so Buddy Meyer unilaterally had the felony assault case dismissed without allowing a grand jury to review it and allowed the defendant to plead to the misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest, apparently with a $200 fine, 30 hours of community service and alcohol counseling.”
     Madison said the resisting arrest conviction against Johnson will be wiped from his record if he completes his deferred adjudication probation.
     He added that in his previous work as an assistant district attorney in Travis County, “Plea bargains like this were and have continued to be commonplace. Cases where assault charges are dropped against those who assault police officers are not unusual.
     “People with financial and/or political influence get better deals than those who don’t enjoy that social status,” Madison said.
     He said Arevalo missed 10 days of work “because of a brain injury, concussion injury, which is not good for a police officer because if he suffers another blow to his head/brain it could be worse, just like football players.”
     An Internet search for “Derek Andrew Johnson” did not yield any notable results.

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