The bodycam video showing Texas cops arresting and pepper spraying a man for recording a traffic stop involving his son was so egregious that the police chief apologized to the victim and withdrew all charges against him within two days – which rarely happens.
However, the two Keller police officers are still on the force, once again showing how dirty cops remain protected no matter how many lives they destroy or how many people they torture as they did to Marco Puente when they refused to give him a towel after they had pepper sprayed him for the non-crime of recording a traffic stop.
Now a 42-page lawsuit has been filed against the two cops, Blake Shimanek and Ankit Tomer, for violating the First, Fourth and 14th Amendment rights of both father and son. The incident took place on August 15, 2020 but the lawsuit was filed December 14. The body cam video was released Wednesday.
Shimanek, who initiated the unlawful arrest, was demoted from sergeant to officer after an internal investigation determined he arrested “an individual for an offense that was not committed” – which is supposed to makes us feel better even though he is still carrying a badge and a gun.
The other cop, Ankit Tomer, was already an officer, the lowest rank in the department, and faced no discipline for blindly following Shimanek’s unlawful orders to arrest and pepper spray Puente who was only trying to protect his son from what he says was a traffic stop based on racial profiling.
Keller police said they pulled Dillon Puentes over because he 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 which is understandable considering how the department protects dirty cops.
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 his father, Marco Puentes, 39, 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.
In other words, he was basing his illegal and abusive actions on the old “fearing for my life” mantra, even though there was never any indication from either father and son he had anything to fear except accountability for his unlawful actions.
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.
Following the illegal and retaliatory arrest and excessive use of force against Mr. Puente, Defendant Shimanak began telling a fabricated version of events to fellow officers and supervisors in an attempt to gain support for his illegal conduct.
These lies by Defendant Shimanek support that the truth did not justify the actions of either Defendant Shimanek or Defendant Tomer.
Defendant Shimanek lied several times to Officer Hope when he told Officer Hope that: a. Dillon was “acting extremely nervous.” b. Dillon was “acting nervous as can be.” c. Mr. Puente was “cruising down the road and stops in the middle of the road.” d. Mr. Puente was “feeding son, telling him what to do.” e. Mr. Puente “walks up into my scene multiple times, I said you’re done you’re under arrest.”
Defendant Shimanek’s body camera video proves that Dillon was not “acting extremely nervous” or “acting nervous as can be.”
Defendant Shimanek’s dash camera video proves that Mr. Puente at no time stopped in “the middle of the road.”
Defendant Shimanek’s dash camera video proves that Mr. Puente at no time was ““feeding son, telling him what to do.”
Defendant Shimanek’s dash camera video proves that Mr. Puente at no time “walke[d] up into [Defendant Shimanek’s] scene,” let alone “multiple times.” Case 4:20-cv-01329-O Document 1 Filed 12/14/20 Page 16 of 42 PageID 16 Page 17 of 42
These were flat out lies, which Defendant Shimanek made in an effort to rally support for his atrocious conduct.
Thankfully, the body camera and dash camera footage memorialized the true events on this day, or Mr. Puente would be trapped attempting to gain justice with only Defendant Shimanek’s lies as evidence of what occurred.
Dillon Puente was arrested on suspicion of narcotics which were never found.