Accused Beaumont courthouse shooter sued city, police prior to tragedy

Marilyn Tennissen Mar. 19, 2012, 4:30pm

Bartholomew Granger

A year and a half before going on a shooting rampage at the Jefferson County Courthouse, accused gunman Bartholomew Granger filed a civil suit seeking $250 million for the mental anguish he and his family suffered at the hands of law enforcement while they investigated a rape charge.

Granger, 41, allegedly opened fire outside the courthouse on March 14, killing one and injuring three others.

Two of those victims were his 20-year-old daughter Samantha Jackson and her mother Claudia Jackson.

At the time of the incident, Granger was on trial for aggravated sexual assault of a family member at his Beaumont home in 2003. Testimony began Tuesday in Judge John Stevens' Criminal District Court, and included emotional testimony from Samantha Jackson. The trial was to resume Wednesday afternoon.

Police say Granger shot Samantha Jackson and then ran over her with his truck as he fled. She remains in critical condition at an area hospital.

Her mother, Claudia Jackson, Granger's former common law wife, was also shot. She was treated and released with non-life threatening injuries.

Prior to the trial, Granger, his brother Lyndon Granger, 43, and Bartholomew Granger Sr., filed a pro se lawsuit in federal court against the Houston Police Department, Harris County, Jefferson County and the city of Beaumont.

The suit, filed July 26, 2010, in the Southern District of Texas, charged police with the "unlawful pursuit of incriminating my whole family based on a lie."

The Grangers alleged that HPD invaded their home three times without a warrant while investigating a rape claim, violating the plaintiffs' civil rights.

The suit alleged the defendants engaged in a "witch hunt" and wrongly acted on the word of the accusers, entitling them to $250,000,000 for their mental anguish.

Family members say Bartholomew Granger had become frustrated by the long legal battle over the rape charge, which could be the motive behind last week's shooting spree at the courthouse.

The civil suit, signed by Lyndon Granger, claimed that officers believed "the word of a liar Samantha Granger and a felon by the name of Claudia Ann Jackson."

"The police found a felon to be credible over citizens with no criminal record," the suit states.

According to the suit, Bartholomew Granger never came forward because "he as not notified until they falsely indicted Lyndon Granger and put him down as a fugitive for something he did not do."

"No one else shows up for court but yet we have to over a lie, it's not fair."

The Grangers accused the police and other defendants of corruption, discrimination, slander, invasion of privacy, false imprisonment, misuse of taxpayer money, failure to protect a citizen, civil and constitutional violations, abuse of power, racial profiling, negligence, falsifying evidence against the plaintiffs, unlawful detainment and questioning and unlawful incrimination.

According to the suit, the Grangers told police they were being lied to, but "they offered a plea deal as if they did not want to do their job."

"I don't have the time or health to be falsely imprisoned for something I did not do," the suit states.

None of the plaintiffs have criminal records, the suit claims.

"We all worked and raised families and never had this kind of mess until a group of malicious family members decided to file a fraudulent report to the police and CPS (Child Protective Services)," the Grangers wrote in the suit.

The men were seeking $250 million for mental anguish and treble economic damages on the grounds that law enforcement knew their conduct was wrong.

Then last week, Bartholomew Granger allegedly opened fire outside the courthouse. He was shot in a gunfight with officers and fled to a nearby business where employees were able to disarm him. He is in custody in the Jefferson County Jail on a $4 million bond.

Bullets also hit two bystanders, including a 79-year-old woman who was killed by multiple gunshots at the courthouse entrance.

Later that day, Lyndon Granger was taken into custody in Houston after his bond on the sexual assault charge was revoked. His bond is currently set at $500,000. The arrest was made at the end of a live press conference with Houston civil rights activist Quanell X.

Lyndon Granger was to go on trial after Bartholomew's trial concluded.

Ulysses Granger was also originally charged in the sexual assault case, but he was dismissed for lack of information. Ulysses Granger, his wife and his mother were all present in Jefferson County on Wednesday when Bartholomew Granger allegedly shot his daughter and her mother.

All of the defendants had been dismissed from the Grangers' civil suit, court records show. A final judgment dismissing the city of Houston was entered on Dec. 2, 2011.

Case No. 4:2010-cv-02698

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