John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Sep. 10, 2012, 2:09pm

HOUSTON - La Porte resident Tammy K. Cooper claims a neighbor's false statements led to her "traumatic" arrest last year in front of her two children, recent court papers say.

Cooper’s lawsuit against Shelley Fuller, the La Porte Police Department and the officer who took her into custody shows the apprehension in question occurred on July 11, 2011, when Fuller contacted LPPD to say that the plaintiff "had abandoned" her 6 and 9-year-old.

The original petition, filed Sept. 6 in Houston federal court, asserts Fuller's report to law enforcement was "defamatory" since Cooper kept an eye on the kids as they rode their scooters in front of their cul de sac.

It adds Fuller reportedly told the unnamed officer that Cooper hit one of the children with her vehicle, which the complainant refutes.

Cooper was then transported to the La Porte City Jail on charges of child endangerment and child abandonment.

The plaintiff claims she requested to be handcuffed with her hands in the front since she has a history of neck, back and shoulder problems but the officer ignored her, adding the pain she experienced throughout the ride worsened to the point "she may need back surgery in the near future."

According to Cooper, the events resulted in her spending 18 hours in jail and paying more than $7,000 in court and legal fees in an effort to get the "unsubstantiated" felony charges against her dismissed.

Meanwhile, Child Protective Services conducted an investigation but "found no cause of concern."

The plaintiff consequently seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

She is represented by attorney Ryan W. Gertz with the Gertz Adair Law Firm in Beaumont.

Case No. 4:12-cv-2651

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