$200,000 Settlement for Texas Man Pepper-Sprayed While Recording Son’s Traffic Stop


Footage from Officer Shimanek’s body camera shows Dillon being asked to step out of the car and then quickly handcuffed. The footage shows his father recording the encounter with his smartphone from his truck, and Officer Shimanek yelling that Mr. Puente was obstructing the roadway and threatening him with arrest.

When a second officer, Ankit Tomer, arrived, Officer Shimanek directed him to arrest Mr. Puente.

A photo included in the lawsuit shows Officer Shimanek putting Mr. Puente in a headlock. Mr. Puente was then pepper-sprayed, according to video footage, with Officer Tomer removing Mr. Puente’s sunglasses before spraying him a second time.

After being sprayed, handcuffed and placed in a patrol car, Mr. Puente repeatedly asked, to no avail, for help, according to the lawsuit. He asked for the irritant to be wiped from his eyes, and said he had trouble breathing, it said.

After pulling into the sally port of the jail, Officer Tomer stopped the car and got out. Later, when the officer opened the car door again, Mr. Puente could be heard screaming, “I’m begging you man, please!”

At the jail, Mr. Puente sat for seven minutes pleading for help as Officer Tomer “stood outside the vehicle having a casual conversation with other officers,” according to the lawsuit. Those seven minutes “amounted to pure torture,” it said.

Mr. Puente was charged with resisting arrest and interference with public duties, Mr. Palmer, his lawyer, said. He was released the night he was arrested, and the charges were later dropped.

Dillon Puente was arrested and taken to jail on charges of making an improper wide right turn. He was later released after paying a fine, Mr. Palmer said.

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