Two Houston brothers who sued the Harris County Sheriff’s Department after they were arrested for photographing and filming deputies against their wishes received a $1.7 million settlement last week.
The Harris County Commission voted unanimously to approve the settlement rather than take a chance with a jury trial, which would have decided the fate of the Ibarra’s $5 million lawsuit.
The settlement stems from a 2002 drug raid on Ibarras’ neighbor in which Sean Carlos Ibarra grabbed a camera and started shooting photos. When the deputies ordered him to hand the camera over, he refused.
A sheriff’s deputy then hit Sean Ibarra and took his camera, according to the lawsuit. After several deputies then burst into the Ibarras’ home, Erik Adam Ibarra grabbed a video camera and started filming.
Deputies then drew their guns and threatend to shoot Erik Ibarra, the lawsuit claims.
Both brothers were arrested on charges of resisting arrest. Erik Ibarra was also charged with evading arrest. And deputies ended up destroying the photos and video from that afternoon.
It never fails to boggle my mind how people can get arrested for resisting and evading arrest without an initial charge that justifies the arrest. It’s like police can just walk up to anybody and arrest them for no reason at all and if they resist, then they’re charged with resisting arrest.
From the Houston Chronicle:
Commissioner Steve Radack said he voted for the settlement because sheriff’s deputies made mistakes on the day of the incident.
“There were some policies that were violated,” he said. “You had somebody on the street who went beyond what was reasonable.”
Emmett said, “The rational thing to do was to accept this settlement offer. Sometimes you make the best deal you can and move on. It allows the sheriff’s office to get back to being the sheriff’s office.”