A Pinehurst man has filed suit against a Harris County deputy sheriff.
Michael James Gardner of Pinehurst, filed a lawsuit Dec. 31 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against Huang Nguyen, a Harris County deputy sheriff, charging violation of freedom of expression, false arrest, excessive use of force, assault and denial of due process.
According to the complaint, Gardner was working on rural county property on Dec. 2, 2014, when he observed a county patrol car with Nguyen the driver and sole occupant. Gardner was carrying a mobile phone and began videotaping Nguyen as he approached another man sitting in a chair outdoors who was a suspect in an unrelated call placed by a third party, the suit states.
Gardner alleges that in turning his attention away from the suspect to himself, Nguyen was abandoning his duties. According to the suit, the deputy rushed at Gardner in an effort to stop his videotaping and, in the process, injured Gardner's arm and knocked the phone to the ground. Gardner was handcuffed, led to a squad car, not permitted to use his phone, and was unable to publish the video, the suit states. He was placed in Harris County jail with bail set at $3 million, the suit states, but a judge ordered him released the next day.
Gardner argues his arrest was without probable cause. He charges Nguyen with causing mental anguish, fear and humiliation.
Gardner seeks damages of $150,000, plus court costs and legal fees.
Gardner is represented by attorneys Robert Teir of Dickinson and Jared Ynigez of Jared Ynigez Law Firm in Houston.
Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case number: 4:14-CV-03726.