HOUSTON, TX — When a Houston man stopped for an alleged traffic violation in front of his house, a wild scene of brutality followed. Police punched, kicked, and brutalized the driver and his family who objected to the police actions. Original charges against the family were dropped, but once a lawsuit was filed against the officer for excessive force, the family members were charged with crimes — two years after the incident — in what appears to be a clear case of police retaliation.
The original incident occurred on September 10th, 2011. It began when David Scherz Jr. pulled into his driveway, where police began harassing him about allegedly rolling through a stop sign. His mother, Yvonne Scherz, witnessed the events and evidently objected.
“Ma’am, either wait inside or wait in the backseat of my car. I’m not going to ask you again,” bellowed one of the officers, according to ABC Houston.
“It’s my property,” replied the mother.
“I’m not worried about it!” the officer shrieked in response. He then attempted to arrest her.
Three other family members came outside to witness and object to the harassment. The situation intensified.
At one point David Scherz was taken to the ground and repeatedly kicked by Harris County deputy constable Jimmy Drummond. The kicking caused Scherz to sustain broken ribs:
One relative, Irma Motez, sustained a broken wrist during the scuffle according to the New York Daily News. “I’m thinking wow, is this America really?” she said.
“He [the deputy] charged me and grabbed me, dragged me and [I] had cuts on me,” said Yvonne Scherz. “I couldn’t believe this was happening. I kept telling him you have no right to do this, you have no right to do this.”
“It was pretty much chaos as my mom was getting arrested. We were yelling, ‘You can’t do this in our country. This is excessive force,’” said David Scherz, Jr.
“I was compliant without incident, I knew how to act in that situation, and it blew up into something way bigger than it would have been initially,” said Scherz.
Original charges against Scherz, Sr. and Elizabeth Scherz were dropped on February 1, 2012, according to the NY Daily News. Misdemeanor charges were dropped in May 2012.
It was not until August 2013 when Scherz filed a lawsuit against officers for using excessive force.
Suddenly, the now two-year-old case was reactivated by police. David and Yvonne Scherz have been charged with assault on a public servant and interference with public duties, despite the original charges being dropped.
“It appears to be in retaliation for filing a civil rights lawsuit against these officers,” said the family’s attorney, Randall Kallinen.
Drummond was charged with one count of official oppression, a misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. The other officers involved escaped prosecution due to the statute of limitations, though the charges against David and Yvonne Scherz are apparently still viable.
Kallinen said district attorney Devon Anderson, appointed by Governor Rick Perry last September, has fostered a “culture of allowing excessive force.” Not a single officer has been found negligent in 450 shootings over the past 10 years. “[Prosecutors] have really, instead of pursuing excessive force cases, have really just turned a blind eye,” he said.
Harris County law enforcement has been the subject of other recent scrutiny.
On December 23, resident Jared Allen White filed a federal lawsuit against the county stemming from an incident wherein deputies allegedly laughed as they shocked him with a Taser while his hands were cuffed behind his back and he fell face-first on the pavement. White says he suffered serious injuries.
David Scherz says he sustained a broken rib after the onslaught of kicks by Drummond, and was blinded by mace during the attack.
“We’re not trying to convince you of anything,” Kallinen said. “Look at the video and see for yourself.”