Wimberley man files complaint claiming police brutality
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.