Alleging he was strangled when he took a mugshot at the Harris County Jail last year, Christopher Johnson has pursued legal action.
Recent Houston federal court records show that on June 8 Johnson sued the county, sheriff’s deputy Gerrit Quellhorst, and several unnamed individuals for the July 25, 2015 incident.
Per the lawsuit, Quellhorst arrested the plaintiff on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and transported him to Harris County jail.
Court papers further show that Johnson “happily complied and posed and smiled for approximately ten photographs” upon the respondents’ request, stating that the unidentified jailers “berated and ridiculed for smiling in his mugshot.”
The suit claims two of the deputies started to choke the complainant in an effort to stop him from smiling.
“While Mr. Johnson was handcuffed, two Harris County employees placed their hand around his neck, depriving him of the ability to breath, emasculating, and humiliating him in front of other Harris County employees and bystanders,” the original petition says.
“In addition, to the physical and emotional abuse Mr. Johnson suffered, his right to take his mandatory intake photograph as he desired was trampled on by the selective enforcement of arbitrary, capricious, constitutionally profane and illegal Harris County Jail policy.”
The defendants reportedly neglected to provide Johnson medical attention.
He consequently seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.
Attorney Andre D. Evans of the law firm Andre Evans & Associates, PLLC in Houston is representing Johnson.
Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case No. 4:16-CV-01623