- An aged Black couple is suing a Texas police division after they had been arrested at gunpoint.
- Officers mentioned they had been trying to find teenage suspects after they pulled over the couple, per the lawsuit.
- The lawsuit alleges extreme drive, unlawful search and seizure, and violation of the Individuals With Disabilities Act.
A Black aged couple has filed a lawsuit in opposition to a Texas police division after they mentioned police violently arrested them at gunpoint whereas trying to find teenage suspects.
Attorneys for 67-year-old Michael Lewis and his girlfriend, 57-year-old Regina Armstead, mentioned the Rosenberg Police Division used extreme drive in the course of the November 2020 arrest.
“What they went by way of was extremely demeaning and dehumanizing and unconstitutional,” legal professional Lauren Bonds advised Insider.
The lawsuit mentioned that 5 RPD officers had been trying to find a bunch of Black youngsters who had been suspected of brandishing weapons and assault after they pulled over Lewis and Armstead.
“RPD incorrectly recognized Ms. Armstead’s automobile because the one utilized by the group of teenagers to flee the scene of an alleged assault, despite the fact that Plaintiffs are senior residents and don’t remotely match the outline of the teenager suspects,” the lawsuit mentioned.
Through the cease, officers instructed Armstead to throw her keys out the window, get on her knees outdoors of the automobile, after which stroll backward to the police automotive together with her arms within the air, the lawsuit mentioned. One officer arrested Armstead “whereas two different officers saved their weapons pointed at her,” the lawsuit mentioned.
Whereas she was being arrested, Armstead advised officers that Lewis was a dialysis affected person with a stint in his hand and that he couldn’t have something tight, like handcuffs, round his arm or wrist, the lawsuit mentioned.
“She stood telling them, ‘My boyfriend’s on dialysis,'” Lewis recalled to Insider. “‘He cannot have any handcuffs on his arms in any respect. He is on dialysis,’ however they did not take heed to that.”
‘We each feared for our lives’
After Armstead was positioned behind a police automobile, “4 armed officers—together with one holding an assault rifle—then ordered Mr. Lewis out of the automobile and advised him to get on the bottom,” the lawsuit mentioned.
“I used to be praying to God that the weapons did not go off on us as a result of if you level weapons at anyone like that, you by no means know,” Lewis advised Insider.
The officers cuffed Lewis regardless of his medical objections and positioned him in a separate police automotive whereas they searched Armstead’s automobile and confiscated her cellphone with out rationalization, mentioned the lawsuit, which accuses RPD of unlawful search and seizure, illegal detention, and false arrest.
“That was actual scary. I let you know, it actually was. I feared for my life. I actually did, and Regina too,” Lewis mentioned. “We each feared for our lives. As a result of, like I mentioned, a gun might have went off.”
The lawsuit mentioned that after officers discovered “no weapons, no contraband, and no different proof of criminality” in Armstead’s automobile, she and Lewis had been uncuffed. Armstead requested why they’d been stopped and searched, and an officer mentioned they had been trying to find teenage suspects, the lawsuit mentioned.
Armstead later realized she didn’t have her cellphone or her keys, the lawsuit mentioned. They returned to the scene to gather Armstead’s telephone from an officer and found their key fob, which had been tossed out the window at police instruction, was crushed. RPD mentioned they’d reimburse Armstead for the important thing fob, however they didn’t, the lawsuit mentioned.
Each Armstead and Lewis “felt frightened, humiliated, embarrassed, and persecuted for being Black, and suffered extreme psychological anguish from the arrest and from being detained,” mentioned the lawsuit, which claims officers violated the Fourth Modification and the Individuals With Disabilities Act.
“On account of the handcuffing throughout his arrest, Mr. Lewis’s medical gadget in his wrist malfunctioned. This resulted in three separate medical procedures to interchange his fistula. These procedures brought on extended ache and struggling to Mr. Lewis,” the lawsuit mentioned.
Bonds, Lewis and Armstead’s legal professional, mentioned she hopes “to see if we will get them some accountability and justice.”
A spokesperson for RPD didn’t instantly reply to Insider’s request for remark.