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Sunday, May 19, 2024 | Back issues
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Woman Says Cops Took Turns on Her

DALLAS (CN) - A woman who got drunk at a nightclub says two police officers in West Tawakoni, east of Dallas, took her to the police station and raped her, then drove her back to the club and told her to "tell your friends this was a joke."

The woman, B.H., sued West Tawakoni, its police Officers Perry Anthony Reed and Ronnie Tipton Jr., and the 35 Club, where she had been drinking.

West Tawakoni is in Hunt County, about 45 miles east of Dallas.

In her federal complaint, B.H. says she went to the 35 Club with friends and after a few hours she "began to feel nauseated ... sometime around midnight. Realizing she was overly intoxicated, plaintiff decided to go out to her car. She became sick and started vomiting out the driver's side of the car.

"Defendant Officers Ronnie Tipton Jr. and Perry Anthony Reed came into the bar, in full uniform, sometime after plaintiff had gone to her car, and began asking other patrons in the bar about 'the girl throwing up in the parking lot.'"

She says the officers went to the parking lot and told her to get out of the car. "The plaintiff was not asked for her identification, nor was she read her Miranda warnings. Without explanation, defendant Officer A directed the plaintiff to get in the back seat of his City of West Tawanoki Police car. The plaintiff was not handcuffed."

She says that Officer B then pulled up behind the first squad car in a second squad car.

She says Officer A never told her where he was taking her, nor that she was under arrest. She says she "passed out in the back seat of the police car."

The complaint continues: "When plaintiff awoke, she could see that the defendant officers had taken her to the City of West Tawanoki Police Station, located just minutes from the 35 Club on State Highway 276. Plaintiff observed that the station looked closed and that all of the lights were off.

"Defendant Officer A, who had driven her to the station, told the plaintiff to get out of the car and to go inside the station. He walked behind her until they reached the door of the police station. He then used his key to unlock the door to the station and ordered the plaintiff to go inside. Defendant Officer B walked in behind the plaintiff and defendant Officer A.

"The station had several desks in the front room. Defendant Officer A told the plaintiff to sit on one of the desks. He then removed his pants while standing directly in front of the plaintiff. At this moment, plaintiff realized what the two defendant officers intended to do with her, and began to cry.

"Defendant Officer A, who had removed his pants, ordered the plaintiff to remove her pants and 'bend over the desk.' Plaintiff was terrified of what would happen if she refused, so she followed defendant Officer A's order. Defendant Officer A then positioned himself behind the plaintiff, and began forced, non-consensual sexual intercourse with her. Plaintiff continued to cry.

"Defendant Officer B stood in the corner of the room and watched his partner rape the plaintiff. After a few minutes, defendant Officer A, who had initiated the rape, told defendant Officer B that he should 'come get some.' Defendant Officer B walked toward plaintiff, removed his pants, and forced the plaintiff to perform oral sex on him. Again, because plaintiff feared what would happen if she refused, she complied. Plaintiff continued to cry as the defendant officers raped her.

"After several minutes, defendant Officer B started yelling 'hurry up, hurry up' to his partner. Shortly thereafter, defendant Officer A, who had initiated the rape, told her to 'hurry up and get dressed, we're going to take you back to your friends.'"

The woman says she got dressed and when she got back in the officers' car, "Defendant Officer A, who had initiated the rape, told her 'whenever you get back, you tell your friends this was a joke.'"

Upon returning to the club, "plaintiff went to the bathroom with one of her friends and two waitresses who both seemed to know that 'something' had happened even before the plaintiff could speak. As she continued to cry, she told them what had happened at the police station minutes earlier."

A male friend heard what had happened and went outside "to confront the two defendant officers. Realizing that the plaintiff had not told her friends that the rape was a 'joke,' the two defendant officers quickly fled the scene," according to the complaint.

"One of the girls in the bathroom with the plaintiff called the Hunt County Sherriff and reported a rape by two West Tawakoni Police officers. The Hunt County Sherriff's office placed a call into the Texas Rangers. The Rangers arrived shortly thereafter and called for an ambulance to pick up the plaintiff and take her to Greenville Hospital. A nurse examined the plaintiff and administered a 'rape kit.'

"Both defendant officers were fired by the City of West Tawakoni Police Chief, Jack Shultz, on December 29, 2011 [sic]. Defendant Officers' discharge was due to conduct that 'showed utter disregard for standard procedures,' and that 'damages the image of all police officers,'" according to the complaint.

The woman seeks damages for constitutional violations against Tipton, Reed, and the city, and Dram Shop liability from the club.

She is represented by Ed Cloutman with Nix, Patterson and Roach, of Irving.

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