Police scared residents during search, suit alleges

Kelly Holleran Nov. 7, 2014, 9:09am

Two Houston residents allege Houston police officers seized them in their home at gunpoint without cause.

Barbara Ann Thomas and John Thomas filed a lawsuit Sept. 19 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against J.J. Williams and an unknown number of officers in the Houston Police Department.

In their complaint, the Thomases allege they were living at 5816 Hirsch Road, Houston, on May 21, when Williams signed an affidavit for a search warrant. In his affidavit, Williams swore that he utilized a confidential informant to purchase drugs from a home at 5818 Hirsch Road, according to the complaint.

In turn, members of the Houston Police Department arrived at the Thomases' home, which they forcibly entered by knocking down the front door at about 6:30 p.m., the suit states.

The police then "found plaintiffs therein huddled together in fear on the couch," the complaint says. They "seized plaintiffs at gunpoint" and "detained plaintiffs for approximately 30 minutes."

Since then, the defendants have failed to repair the Thomases' front door, according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs suffered property damage and mental anguish, which was exacerbated by John Thomas having been diagnosed as having special mental health needs, and the arrest by the Houston Police Department without probable cause or reasonable suspicion caused him post-traumatic stress disorder, the suit states.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs say Williams failed to take a reasonable precautionary measure, did not watch a confidential informant go into their home, falsely swore he watched a confidential informant enter the premises and took no pictures of the Thomas home before searching there, the complaint says.

The Thomases seek actual and punitive damages, plus attorney fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Attorneys Meagan Hassan and William Pieratt Demond of Demond and Hassan, in Houston, will represent the plaintiffs.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case number: 4:14-CV-2711

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