Beaumont man sues five cops over alleged beating at traffic stop

By Kelly Holleran | Nov 24, 2008

A Beaumont man has filed suit against five Beaumont police officers, alleging two of the officers beat and shot him with a Taser gun during a routine traffic stop.

Derrick Newman was a passenger in 2001 black Nissan Sentry on Aug. 24, 2007, when two police officers – Jason J. Torres and John David Brown -- stopped the vehicle when the driver allegedly failed to stop at a red light.

According to the complaint filed Nov. 17 in Jefferson County District Court, officers asked the three men in the car for their identification. Passenger Mario Cole was asked to step out because there was a warrant for his arrest, the suit states.

Newman and driver Willie Lee Cole claim they remained in the car until "they felt the car move forward like someone was being pushed up against it."

When they exited the vehicle, Willie Lee Cole and Newman found the officers bending Mario Cole's arm and slamming him against the car, according to the complaint.

Even though Willie Lee Cole and Newman did not approach the police, Torres and Brown called for back-up, the suit states.

That was when two more Beaumont police officers – James Guedry and David Burke – arrived at the scene, Newman claims.

Guedry asked Newman if he could search him for drugs or weapons, which Newman willingly consented to, according to the complaint.

While Newman had his hand on the car and was being searched, Guedry kicked his legs and spread them apart, the suit states.

"While Defendant Guedry was doing this Defendant David Burke came from an unknown direction exited his vehicle and began beating Plaintiff with his baton hitting Plaintiff on the right arm," the suit states.

Burke hit Newman on his arm about six to nine times and on his right thigh about five to eight times, Newman claims.

After Burke repeatedly hit Newman, he lifted Newman and ordered Guedry to Taser Newman, according to the complaint.

"Plaintiff felt an extreme amount of pain after being Tasered by Defendant Guedry," the suit states.

During the incident, Newman claims his shorts fell to the ground.

But when he requested officers help him stand so he could pull his shorts up, Burke dragged him to the side of the road, then eventually placed him in a police car, according to the complaint.

"However, by the time Plaintiff was placed in such police car several other police officers and civilians had gathered and witnessed the incident," the suit states. "Plaintiff was extremely embarrassed as the events transpired."

Before he was placed in the police car, Newman claims he heard Willie Lee Cole ask Burke why he had hit Newman.

"Defendant Burke replied 'because of his mouth and if he says something else I'm going to hit him again,'" the suit states.

Because of the incident, Newman claims incurred medical costs, physical pain and suffering, physical impairment and disfigurement, according to the complaint.

He also claims he suffered mental anguish and a fear of a future disease or condition.

The Beaumont officers were negligent because they failed to protect Newman from unreasonable, unnecessary and excessive force, according to the complaint.

Newman claims he is entitled to exemplary damages because the officers' conduct involved an extreme degree of risk.

Newman is seeking a judgment within the jurisdictional limits and unspecified exemplary damages, plus prejudgment interest at the maximum rate, post-judgment interest at the legal rate, costs and other relief to which he is entitled.

He will be represented by Langston Scott Adams of Port Arthur and by Terrence Holmes of the Law Office of Terrence Holmes in Beaumont.

The case has been assigned to Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court.

Case No. E182-725

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