Woman claims wrongful arrest by transit cops following protest against immigration policy

Kelly Holleran Aug. 15, 2014, 11:51am

A woman claims she was wrongfully arrested by Houston transit police while protesting the policies of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Elizabeth Theiss filed a lawsuit July 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas-Houston Division against the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County and transit cop J.R. Zepeda. 

In her complaint, Theiss claims that on Nov. 5 she and another man at the corner of Reid Road and Fulton Street in north Houston protesting Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and immigration policies when Zepeda pulled up and ordered Theiss into his car, according to the complaint.

After Theiss refused to get into Zepeda's car, she sat down on the curb and pulled out her cell phone to record the proceedings. At that point Zepeda handcuffed her, the suit states.

He brought her to the Houston jail, where she was booked and held for about 18 hours, the complaint says. Although Theiss was later released and the charges against her dropped, she claims the incident caused her to suffer anxiety, anger, lost sleep, depression and fear.

In her complaint, Theiss says the defendants violated the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

She seeks an unspecified judgment, plus attorneys' fees, costs, pre- and post-judgment interest, punitive damages, injunctive relief and other relief the court deems just.

She is being represented by attorney Randall L. Kallinen of the Law Office of Randall L. Kallinen in Houston.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas case number 4:14-cv-02175

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

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