A Texas man is richer and his town is a little safer from the pair of cops who pepper sprayed and arrested him for recording a traffic stop involving his son from a public sidewalk last year.
One of the two Keller police officers who arrested him, Blake Shimanek, resigned Monday but he is still certified as an officer, meaning he will probably move on to another law enforcement agency. The other cop, Ankit Tomer, still carries a badge and gun and has the authority to terrorize the same citizens who fund his salary.
The incident also led to “policy changes” within the police department, according to a city newsletter. But policy changes historically have proven to have little effect on police abuse if the department keeps these cops employed.
However, Marco Puente, the victim, was happy with the $200,000 settlement over the August 15 incident that was captured on body cam video. And the city tried to justify the settlement by stating taxpayer’s only paid $5,000 towards the payout with the rest paid by the city’s tax-funded insurance company, according to the New York Times.
It all started when Keller police pulled over Puente’s son, Dillon Puentes, because he had made a “wide right turn” – even though police did not release video showing this infraction. They claim the 23-year-old man had “appeared nervous” prior to the stop.
Keller police also say the teen rolled up his dark-tinted windows during the traffic stop which they described as an “officer safety concern” which is the reason Shimanek ordered Dillon Puentes out of the car and handcuffed him.
That was when Marco Puentes pulled up, stopping his car near the curb on the opposite side of the street and began recording from the driver’s seat which Shimanek claims created even more of an officer safety concern.
Shimanek ordered Marco Puente to park his car down the street and record on foot which he did, returning a few moments later and standing on the sidewalk exercising his First Amendment right to record police in public.
Nevertheless, Shimanek ordered Tomer to arrest him “for blocking the roadway” which is what led to Tomer pepper spraying him twice at close range.
The lawsuit states that after the arrest, Marco Puente pleaded for the cops to wipe the pepper spray from his eyes and face which were burning but the cops ignored his request.
At one point, body camera footage shows Shimanek using a towel and water to wipe away the pepper spray from his own body. He also told jail staff “I’m on fire” regarding the pepper spray on his body, indicating he was well aware of the pain Marco Puente was going through but did nothing to help him.
Instead, he came up with a litany of lies to justify his unlawful arrest, according to the lawsuit which you can read here. Read the policy changes that will be made below.
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