Liberty Co. woman seeks $1M from Kemah, Galveston Co. over 'unlawful' arrests

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Apr 8, 2013

GALVESTON - The city of Kemah and Galveston County face a $1 million lawsuit from a Liberty County woman who asserts she was falsely arrested last year by the Kemah Police Department. 

Recent court documents filed April 1 in Galveston County District Court allege Kemah Police unlawfully stopped and detained Brandy O'Brien numerous times when she used to reside in the north Galveston County city of 3,334 people.

O'Brien says the acts in question include her "illegal" arrest for alleged possession of dangerous drugs and controlled substances on or about April 8, 2012.

Her suit explains that she was "forced" to spend Easter in the Kemah City Jail as well as the Galveston County Jail, but the district attorney's office elected not to prosecute her since she had valid prescriptions from her treating physician.

O'Brien's impending release, however, was supposedly challenged.

"The plaintiff's mother and attorney were told by a Kemah Police supervisor, 'F*** her, the D.A. accepted [the] charges, so the D.A. can sort it out,'" the original petition says.

The apprehension was ultimately dismissed on grounds it was made without cause and in violation of O'Brien's civil and constitutional rights.

Authorities would arrest the complainant again later that Thanksgiving holiday weekend on second degree felony controlled substance possession charges and hold her for 10 days afterwards in lieu of a $40,000 bond.

Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor junked the case against O'Brien because it was also a warrantless arrest, but the suit argues the ordeal cost the plaintiff her job and inflicted damage to her reputation.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Paul H. LaValle of the Law Offices of Paul Houston LaValle & Associates PC in Texas City is representing the complainant, and Galveston County 10th District Court Judge Kerry L. Neves is presiding over the case.

Case No. 13-CV-486

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