Drug suspect sues Houston police officers, alleging wrongful conduct

By Carol Ostrow | Sep 1, 2015

A Texas man is suing a municipal jurisdiction and eight individual officers alleging malicious abuse during a violent encounter that the plaintiff says constituted wrongful conduct.

Jerome Terry filed a lawsuit Aug. 21 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas against K.D. Fregia, R.C. Haney, R.P. Delasbour, Officers Penrod and Zaunbrecher, John Does No. 1 and No. 2, Chief of Police Charles McClelland Jr., and the city of Houston, alleging extreme physical abuse and civil rights violation in a May altercation with police.

According to the complaint, on May 12, McClelland was chief of police, and the five named police officers were employed by and acting on behalf of the Houston Police Department when they detained the plaintiff in Houston’s Third Ward neighborhood.

The suit says Delasbour, working undercover, said he saw Terry conducting a narcotics transaction and hiding the “drugs” in his anus. According to the grievance, Fregia and Haney aggressively accosted Terry as he left a food store, physically assaulting him, holding him down, handcuffing him, donning latex gloves and performing an anal cavity search in public in front of bystanders.

The lawsuit states when one of the officers pulled a “baggie” out from the plaintiff’s rectum, the bag had been concealed completely within the anus and was not hanging out, forcing the defendants to insert their fingers into the anal cavity without a warrant. Additionally, a second police vehicle arrived with Penrod, Zaunbrecher and the two unknown officers, who “all began jumping on and beating” Terry while handcuffed, the suit says.

The suit also states Terry was Tasered and hospitalized with severe injuries including lacerations, abrasions, sprains and bruises. The lawsuit holds the defendants McClelland and Houston responsible for failure to instruct, supervise, control and discipline its staff, defendants Delasbour, Fregia, Haney, Penrod, Zaunbrecher, and Does 1 and 2.

The plaintiff alleges pain, suffering, humiliation, sexual assault, excessive force, illegal cavity search, false arrest and imprisonment.

Terry seeks more than $200,000, compensatory, exemplary, punitive and special damages, interest, attorney fees, legal expenses and costs. He is represented by attorneys Allie Booker of the Booker Law Firm and Joseph Plumbar of the Law Office of Joseph K. Plumbar, both in Houston.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas case number 4:15-cv-02430.

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