Wim­ber­ley man files com­plaint claim­ing po­lice bru­tal­ity

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Pa­trick Ge­orge

SAN MAR­COS — An 80-year-old Wim­ber­ley man charged with re­sist­ing ar­rest filed a com­plaint against the Hays County sher­iff’s of­fice on Mon­day, al­leg­ing po­lice bru­tal­ity in a June en­counter with sher­iff’s deputies.

Robert Thread­g­ill, who lives in the Wood­creek sub­di­vi­sion, says in the com­plaint that on June 22, he and his 56-year-old son, Stephen Thread­g­ill, were struck, thrown to the ground and dragged by sev­eral Hays County sher­iff’s deputies, leav­ing him and his son badly in­jured.

But deputies tell a dif­fer­ent story. Sher­iff’s spokesman Leroy Opiela said that when deputies an­swered a call on a com­plaint about a dis­tur­bance, they found Robert Thread­g­ill ag­i­tated. Opiela said Thread­g­ill used pro­fane lan­guage and moved as if to at­tack the of­fi­cers.

“Deputies at­tempted to hand­cuff him, and as he con­tin­ued to re­sist, was taken to the ground and hand­cuffed,” Opiela said.

Opiela said Stephen Thread­g­ill ig­nored di­rec­tions from of­fi­cers and at­tempted to in­ter­fere, so he too was wres­tled to the ground and hand­cuffed.

Deputies cited the Thread­g­ills for dis­or­derly con­duct by pro­fane and abu­sive lan­guage. Robert Thread­g­ill was later charged with re­sist­ing ar­rest. He turned him­self in on Wed­nes­day and was re­leased on $3,000 bail, sher­iff’s of­fi­cials said.

Thread­g­ill’s war­rant for re­sist­ing ar­rest was not on file with the Hays County district clerk on Mon­day. County of­fi­cials have not pro­vided the in­ci­dent re­port or pa­trol car video from the en­counter, which were re­quested by the Amer­i­can-States­man un­der the Texas Pub­lic In­for­ma­tion Act on July 1.

Sher­iff’s of­fi­cials have not re­leased the names of the deputies in­volved.

Robert Thread­g­ill said he suf­fered bruises and cuts and in­juries to his ribs, leg, head, face and arm. He walked with crutches Mon­day. Stephen Thread­g­ill said he suf­fered from a con­cus­sion and fa­cial in­juries, among oth­ers.

Opiela said last week that the of­fice’s Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tions Di­vi­sion and Sher­iff Tommy Ratliff re­viewed the in­ci­dent and found no ev­i­dence of in­ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion by deputies on the scene.

Now that the Thread­g­ills have launched a for­mal com­plaint, the sher­iff’s of­fice will con­duct a full in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Opiela said. Af­ter it is com­plete, of­fi­cials will ask the Texas Rangers to do their own in­ves­ti­ga­tion, he said.

“Now we’ve got de­tailed al­le­ga­tions from the Thread­g­ills,” Opiela said.

Robert Thread­g­ill said he was fish­ing in Cy­press Creek near his home on Ma­rina Cir­cle when he got into a dis­agree­ment with an em­ployee of the nearby Lodge at Cy­press Falls. Thread­g­ill said he told the em­ployee that trash was com­ing onto his prop­erty from lodge res­i­dents and that it needed to be cleaned up.

It is not clear who called po­lice. Man­age­ment at the Lodge at Cy­press Falls could not be reached for com­ment by phone Mon­day evening.

Robert Thread­g­ill went to speak with the deputies, his com­plaint said. At some point, the com­plaint said, Stephen Thread­g­ill came out­side to see what was hap­pen­ing; his fa­ther told him to go back in the house. Robert Thread­g­ill was told he was tres­pass­ing and was at­tacked by a deputy, which caused him “ter­ri­ble pain,” the com­plaint said. He was then put in hand­cuffs, the com­plaint said.

A neigh­bor of Robert Thread­g­ill’s, Doyle Odom, said he wit­nessed the in­ci­dent.

In a state­ment given to deputies Mon­day, Odom said it looked like two deputies started “sling­ing (Thread­g­ill) around un­til he fell to the ground, at which point they both jumped on him.”

Odom said one deputy put his knee on Thread­g­ill’s face, while an­other put his knee on the man’s back, caus­ing him to scream in pain. Odom said their tech­niques “seemed ex­tremely ex­ces­sive” when used on an 80-year-old.

In a sep­a­rate com­plaint, Stephen Thread­g­ill said he be­came un­con­scious af­ter his fa­ther told him to go back in­side.

Odom said deputies threw Stephen Thread­g­ill be­tween the rails of a wooden fence. Robert Thread­g­ill was also pushed un­der the fence, caus­ing him to fall down, Odom said.

The com­plaint said Robert Thread­g­ill was put in a pa­trol car with his son, who he thought was “near death.” The two were taken by paramedics to Cen­tral Texas Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

Sher­iff’s spokesman Mike Thie­len said last week that he did not know why Robert Thread­g­ill wasn’t ar­rested at the scene.

“There’s no telling,” Thie­len said. “The of­fi­cer may have wanted to ver­ify some things.”

Robert Thread­g­ill says deputies struck him.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.