HOUSTON (CN) – A Texas teenager called police on his dad for scolding him about his long phone conversations and two officers used a stun gun on the father until he fell face-first into a wall and then arrested him, the man claims in a civil-rights lawsuit.
Khalil El-Amin sued Harris County, its Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and two sheriff’s deputies on Monday in Houston federal court.
El-Amin, 54, is a single father of three sons, ages 16, 14 and 12. “The mother of all sons left them and the plaintiff when the eldest son, A.N., was only four years old,” according to the complaint, which identifies the sons by their initials.
El-Amin says A.N. has a history of calling police and Child Protective Services on him, though no agency has ever found evidence he is abusive.
“On January 7, 2017, the plaintiff and A.N. had been arguing over A.N.’s disrespectful response when the plaintiff expressed his displeasure with A.N.’s excessively long telephone conversations with friends. … A.N. told plaintiff to get out of his face or he was going to call the police. The plaintiff responded by telling him to go ahead and call the police,” the complaint states.
El-Amin said he and his younger sons were doing their afternoon prayers that day in their apartment when Harris County sheriff’s deputies Megan Herrin and Oscar Flores, defendants in the lawsuit, knocked on the door.
“Flores and Herrin asked if the plaintiff was the father of A.N. and asked for the plaintiff’s ‘story,’” the complaint states. “The plaintiff responded that he was A.N.’s father but that he had no story and instead they should ask A.N. because he was the one that called them.”
The officers asked to see El-Amin’s identification and El-Amin claims he asked them to show him the law that says he had to show his ID in his own home.
El-Amin says when he answered the door, he told the officers they had to take off their shoes before they came inside his apartment but they declined to do so.
El-Amin says as he talked to Herrin, Flores walked into the apartment in his shoes and stood behind him.
“Flores suddenly grabbed the plaintiff’s left hand and attempted to aggressively force his hands behind his back while demanding that the plaintiff put his arms behind his back,” the lawsuit states.
El-Amin says he reflexively pulled his arms back and asked the officers what he had done wrong, but they ignored him and yelled at him to put his hands behind his back.
“Herrin then shouted, ‘Tase him, tase him,’” the lawsuit states.
Flores stunned El-Amin in the back of the neck and he slumped face-first into a wall, then Herrin jumped on El-Amin’s back and dug her knee into his spine, according to the complaint.
El-Amin says his youngest son begged the officers to leave his dad alone, before Flores zapped him again with his stun gun.
El-Amin, who is 5-foot-5, claims that moments later, as he sat in the back of their squad car, he heard Herrin tell Flores she had a hard time handcuffing him because his shoulders are so broad.
“This statement clearly indicates that the real reason for her difficulty in handcuffing the plaintiff was not due to the plaintiff resisting or moving; rather, it was because of the plaintiff’s body structure,” the complaint states.
El-Amin says Flores lied in a police report that he had pushed Flores’ arm and he was charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest.
A judge dismissed the charge the following day, finding no probable cause, and El-Amin was released after spending one night in jail.
But prosecutors promptly charged him with two more misdemeanors for the incident: assaulting a family member and interference with public duties.
El-Amin wants punitive damages for excessive force, false arrest and malicious prosecution. He also accuses Sheriff Gonzalez of failing to train his officers on use of force, a difficult-to-prove civil rights claim called municipal liability.
A Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said on Wednesday he could not comment on the lawsuit, but said Gonzalez had been sheriff for less than a week when El-Amin was arrested. Gonzalez took office New Year’s Day.
El-Amin is represented by Obaid Shariff, who is also defending him against the pending criminal charges.