Texas police were looking for teen suspects, but they instead held a black couple in their 50s and 60s at gunpoint, a lawsuit says.

Regina Armstead and Michael Lewis.

Regina Armstead and Michael Lewis.Thanks to Michael Lewis.

  • An elderly black couple is suing a Texas police station after being arrested at gunpoint.

  • Officers said they were looking for teenage suspects when they apprehended the couple, according to the lawsuit.

  • The lawsuit alleges excessive force, illegal search and seizure and violation of the American With Disabilities Act.

A black elderly couple has filed a lawsuit against a Texas police station after they said police had forcibly arrested them while searching for teenage suspects.

Lawyers for 67-year-old Michael Lewis and his girlfriend, 57-year-old Regina Armstead, said Rosenberg police used excessive force during the November 2020 arrest.

“What they went through was incredibly humiliating and degrading and unconstitutional,” attorney Lauren Bonds told Insider.

The lawsuit said five RPD officers were looking for a group of black teens suspected of gun-wielding and assault when they ran over Lewis and Armstead.

“RPD incorrectly identified Ms Armstead’s vehicle as the vehicle used by the group of teens to flee the scene of an alleged assault, even though the plaintiffs are seniors and do not remotely match the teen suspects’ description” the lawsuit said.

During the stop, officers ordered Armstead to throw her keys out the window, get on her knees outside the vehicle and then back up to the police car with her hands in the air, the lawsuit said. An officer arrested Armstead “while two other officers had their guns pointed at her,” the lawsuit said.

While she was being arrested, Armstead told officers that Lewis was a dialysis patient with a stint in his hand and that he was not allowed to wear anything tight, such as handcuffs, on his arm or wrist, the lawsuit said.

“She was telling them, ‘My friend is on dialysis,'” Lewis recalled to Insider. “He shouldn’t have handcuffs on his arms at all. He’s on dialysis, but they haven’t listened to it.’

‘We both feared for our lives’

After Armstead was placed in the back of a police vehicle, “four armed officers — including one with an assault rifle — ordered Mr Lewis out of the vehicle and told him to go to the ground,” the lawsuit said.

“I prayed to God that the guns wouldn’t go at us because if you point guns at someone like that, you never know,” Lewis told Insider.

The officers handcuffed Lewis despite his medical objections and placed him in a separate police car while they searched Armstead’s vehicle and seized her cell phone without explanation, according to the lawsuit, which charges RPD with illegal search and seizure, unlawful detention and false arrest. .

“That was really scary. I’m telling you, it was real. I feared for my life. I really did it, and so did Regina,” Lewis said. “We both feared for our lives. Because, like I said, a gun could have gone off.”

The lawsuit said that after officers found “no weapons, no contraband and no other evidence of illegal activity” in Armstead’s vehicle, she and Lewis were released. Armstead asked why they had been detained and searched, and an officer said they were looking for teenage suspects, the lawsuit said.

Armstead later realized she didn’t have her cell phone or her keys, the lawsuit said. They returned to the crime scene to retrieve Armstead’s phone from an officer and found that their key ring, thrown from the window at the direction of the police, had been crushed. RPD said they would reimburse Armstead for the key ring, but they didn’t, the lawsuit said.

Both Armstead and Lewis “felt frightened, humiliated, ashamed and persecuted for being black, and suffered severe mental distress from the arrest and detention,” according to the lawsuit, which alleges that officers accepted the Fourth Amendment and the American With Disabilities Act. have violated.

“As a result of the handcuffs during his arrest, Mr. Lewis’s medical device in his wrist did not function properly. This resulted in three separate medical procedures to replace his fistula. These procedures caused Mr. Lewis prolonged pain and suffering,” the lawsuit said.

Bonds, Lewis and Armstead’s attorney, said she hopes “to see if we can get them some accountability and justice.”

An RPD spokesperson did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article Insider

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