Texas police were looking for a teenage suspect but instead took a black couple in their 50s and 60s into gun custody, lawsuit says

Regina Armstead and Michael Lewis.

Regina Armstead and Michael Lewis.Courtesy of Michael Lewis.

  • An elderly black couple is suing Texas police after being arrested at gunpoint.

  • Officers said they were looking for a teenage suspect when they stopped the couple, according to the lawsuit.

  • The lawsuit alleges excessive force, unlawful search and seizure, and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

An elderly black couple has filed a lawsuit against Texas State Police after they claimed police violently arrested them at gunpoint while searching for a teenage suspect.

Lawyers for Michael Lewis, 67, and his girlfriend Regina Armstead, 57, said the Rosenberg Police Department used excessive force in the November 2020 arrests.

“What they went through was incredibly demeaning, dehumanizing and unconstitutional,” attorney Lauren Bonds told an insider.

According to the complaint, five RPD officers were looking for a group of black teenagers suspected of wielding weapons and assaulting Lewis and Armstead when they stopped them.

“RPD has used Ms. Armstead’s car for a group of teens to flee the scene of an alleged assault, even though the plaintiff is an elderly person and hardly matches the teenage suspect’s description.” erroneously identified as being used,” the lawsuit said.

During the stop, officers instructed Armstead to throw the keys out the window, kneel outside the car, hands in the air and return to the patrol car. officers continued to point their guns at her,” the lawsuit said.

During her arrest, Armstead told officers that Lewis was a dialysis patient and had stints on his hands that prevented him from holding anything as tight as handcuffs around his arms and wrists.

“She stood up and said, ‘My boyfriend is on dialysis,'” Lewis recalled to the insider. ‘But they didn’t hear it.’

“We were both afraid for our lives.”

After Armstead was placed in the back of a patrol car, “four armed officers, including one with an assault rifle, ordered Mr. Lewis to get out of the vehicle and told him to get to the ground,” the lawsuit said. ing.

“I was praying to God not to point a gun at us because you never know when you point a gun at someone like that,” Lewis told Insider.

Police handcuffed Lewis despite Lewis’ medical objections, placed him in another patrol car while they searched Armstead’s car, and confiscated her cell phone without explanation, according to police. The lawsuit accused the RPD of illegal search and seizure, illegal detention, and false arrest.

“It was really scary. It really was. I was scared for my life. I really did, and so did Regina,” Lewis said. We were both afraid for our lives because, as I said, the guns could fire.”

According to the complaint, she and Lewis were uncuffed after police found “weapons, contraband and other evidence of illegal activity” in Armstead’s vehicle. When asked if they had been searched, officers said they were looking for a teenage suspect.

Armstead later realized he didn’t have his cell phone or keys, the lawsuit says. They return to the scene to collect Armstead’s phone from the officers and find the key fob smashed, thrown out the window at the direction of the police. RPD told Armstead to reimburse him for the key fob, but he didn’t, the lawsuit said.

Both Armstead and Lewis were “feared, humiliated, embarrassed, persecuted, and suffered severe emotional distress from their arrest and detention for being black,” police said. The lawsuit alleges that he violated the Americans Act with

“As a result of being handcuffed during his arrest, the medical device on Mr. Lewis’ wrist failed. This required three separate medical procedures to replace the fistula. These procedures were performed by Mr. Lewis. It caused long-lasting pain and suffering,” the lawsuit said.

“We’d like to see if we can give them accountability and justice,” Bonds, an attorney for Lewis and Armstead, said.

An RPD spokesperson did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Read the original article at insider