Keller police tackled a 12-year-old boy, handcuffed him with a Nerf gun and erased his body camera, the lawsuit says

A police officer in Keller tackled and handcuffed a 12-year-old boy who was playing with a Nerf gun in his neighborhood, according to a lawsuit filed by his mother.

Tiffany Paradise and her attorney filed a lawsuit against several Keller officers on behalf of her son in the Fort Worth Division of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas on August 3.Paradise is represented by Scott Palmer and James Roberts Scott Palmer PC

Keller Police did not respond to a request for comment.

“It had a pretty big effect on the little boy,” Roberts said. “He had to go to counseling. I was a 12-year-old boy who was a kid and now I don’t want to do it anymore.It basically stole his innocence.”

According to the lawsuit, Paradise’s 12-year-old son (referred to as HW in court documents) was seen playing with orange and blue Nerf guns near Keller’s backyard in August 2020. Unknown to him, someone in the neighborhood called the police and reported seeing a Hispanic man, presumably with a black gun. I headed

When Wheeler arrived, he saw HW, who was white, got out of the car and ran towards him, the lawsuit alleges. dropped a toy gun. HW knelt and put his hands up, Suit said, and Wheeler tackled him to the ground.

Wheeler placed a knee on HW’s back, claiming it was “clearly excessive” and caused HW to “suffer pain and injury”, and handcuffed the confused boy. Wheeler asked him, “Why are you running?” HW replied, “I’m sorry I didn’t know you were coming for me.” Wheeler replied, “Don’t lie to me.”

Wheeler, who is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, and two other officers walked HW to the curb at 6:25 p.m. and sat him down. Nerf gun near HW

At 6:30 p.m., police read Miranda’s rights to him, at which point it was clear, according to the complaint, that the 12-year-old with the Nerf gun was not the Hispanic man police were looking for. was. For. Police should have released the boy immediately, but instead handcuffed him for 14 minutes, the lawsuit says.

“The (police) response needs to vary depending on what they find,” Roberts said. “This is him a 12-year-old boy lying on the floor with his arms up. He was frightened and frightened.”

A 12-year-old boy was playing with a blue-and-orange Nerf gun in Keller's neighborhood when police — in response to a call that a Hispanic man might be carrying a black gun — pulled the boy away. He was ordered to the ground, tackled and handcuffed.  , according to the lawsuit.

A 12-year-old boy was playing with a blue-and-orange Nerf gun in Keller’s neighborhood when police — in response to a call that a Hispanic man might be carrying a black gun — pulled the boy away. He was ordered to the ground, tackled and handcuffed. , according to the lawsuit.

According to the complaint, the boy was handcuffed with his legs crossed until his mother arrived at 6:39 p.m. It was only when Paradise asked her son to remove the handcuffs that he was released, she said. says Suits.

body cam video

After HW was detained by police, HW’s father called Keller police officer Blake Shimanek and asked to see body camera footage of his son’s arrest, the lawsuit states. Shimanek confirmed the video with his HW father, but told him it might be difficult for HW’s parents to see due to Wheeler’s use of power over his son, the lawsuit states. Shimanek told HW’s father that he didn’t believe anything was wrong with the use of force.

That same month, HW was taken into custody by a police officer named Simanek, then a sergeant at the Keller Police Department. Father arrested for pepper spray while filming son’s traffic stopMarco Puente filed a lawsuit against Simanek, alleging excessive force, and the case received national attention.

When HW’s parents learned that Simanek had used force against Puente, they used the body camera footage “because they no longer trusted Simanek’s opinion on whether the use of force was appropriate”. I decided that I should see for myself.Simanek is eventually convicted of official repression He resigned from the police in February 2021 due to the incident involving Puente.

However, the Keller Police Department told HW’s parents that the video was no longer available. According to the complaint, the video was destroyed. According to the complaint, it is Keller police policy to store video footage of the use of force against minors. Keller Police did not immediately respond to questions about what the body camera retention policy would entail.

In a letter to HW’s parents, a sergeant from the Keller Police Department said the Home Office investigation did not find Wheeler’s use of force excessive. However, according to the complaint, the sergeant’s letter stated that the internal investigation included review of reports, requests for services, and interviews, but not review of video footage.

The lawsuit alleges that Wheeler’s use of force against HW was clearly excessive, according to Wheeler’s own case report. In an incident report cited in the lawsuit, Wheeler wrote that HW was “frightened but obeyed” his orders and was handcuffed without incident.

The complaint alleges that portions of Wheeler’s report were fabricated to justify the use of force. In the report, Wheeler wrote that the boy had “his right hand dipped toward his right waistline” as he ran toward HW. According to the lawsuit, HW did no such thing — HW put his hands up in the air when Wheeler told him to get down to the ground.