Brandon Backe Files Suit Over Galveston Wedding Brawl
Former Astros pitcher Brandon Backe, along with 11 other alleged victims of police brutality, have decided to sue the City of Galveston and more than 20 city cops over what happened during a well-publicized wedding-day mêlée outside of a posh bar at the San Luis Resort two years ago.
Less than a month after Hurricane Ike, throngs of well-wishers assembled at the resort bar to celebrate after attending a wedding ceremony. But the scene turned ugly fast.
According to the lawsuit, filed in Galveston federal court, it all began when a security guard stopped a partier who was walking through the bar to get to his room. Police have said the man was heading into the pool area with an open container of alcohol. Nevertheless, the confrontation attracted a crowd, and before anyone knew it, officers were raising their batons and tensions were skyrocketing.
At some point, an officer called for backup, and dozens of cops showed up at the resort. The lawsuit is full of accusations and descriptions of alleged police brutality. The lawsuit states that the officers abused wedding and hotel guests by beating, kicking and pepper-spraying them. Some of the plaintiffs claim they were Tasered, some say they were handcuffed and hit, and one man claims that an officer slammed his pregnant wife to the ground. When the man asked why, he says the cop punched him.
As for Backe, he claims that he tried to calm some of the officers down. But when he did, he says, a policeman grabbed Backe, forced him to the ground and handcuffed the former big-leaguer, before proceeding to punch and kick him. Backe says he was dragged outside and put in a police car.
In all, according to news reports, police arrested 13 people during what was dubbed "a riot." However, charges against nine of the 13 people were later dismissed. Backe and two others eventually pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge and were sentenced to one day of probation. One man's case is still pending.
Many people were hurt during the incident. One member of the wedding party was taken by helicopter to the hospital with skull, face and torso injuries.
More than five months after the fight, the Galveston PD disciplined 13 officers, nine of which were suspended without pay for several days. The other four officers received a written reprimand.
The City of Galveston, according to news reports, issued a press release at the time stating the discipline was not for excessive force ... which of course is exactly what Backe and his fellow plaintiffs are suing the cops over in court.