See if you can follow this one.
A Harris County Precinct 4 deputy constable out on patrol says he saw a young man blow through a stop sign on September 10, 2011 near his far north-side home, so he pulled up behind the guy and flashed the lights when the man turned into his driveway. The man's mother walked outside, asked what was going on, and the deputy told her to get back inside the house or else he'd throw her in a squad car; she refused, arguing that she was on her property, so the deputy put her in cuffs.
The rest of the family then came out to investigate and, for some still-unclear reason, things quickly spun out of control. The deputy called for backup. The driver's father was slammed to the ground, cuffed, arrested, and later charged with assaulting a police officer. Deputies grabbed and arrested an aunt with enough force that she suffered a broken hand, according to a lawsuit that was later filed. The sister, who tried to record all of this on her cell phone, was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer; the sister says the cop tripped during the course of her arrest, while her criminal complaint says she pulled her arm while the officer was trying to detain her "causing him to hurt his foot."
As for the man who ran the stop sign, three deputies wrestled him to the ground, and he was later charged with criminal mischief.
After nearly two years and thousands of dollars in legal fees, prosecutors had dropped all charges against David Scherz, who was 25 at the time of his arrest, and his family members who came out to see why a deputy followed him into their driveway. The family filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging police brutality, and a dash-cam video soon surfaced showing then-deputy constable Jimmy Drummond kicking and kneeing Scherz while he was already cuffed and face-down on the ground. The video was enough to prompt the Harris County District Attorney's office to rush to charge Drummond with official oppression the day before the statute of limitations was set to lapse.
But this week, Drummond got off on an apparent technicality. State District Judge Denise Collins ruled that prosecutors didn't properly charge Drummond before the time limit, effectively ending the case just as it was set to go to trial.
The Scherz family, meanwhile, hasn't had such luck over at the courthouse. Scherz's mother and father are again fighting criminal charges that prosecutors dismissed two years ago but then refiled after the family sued in federal court last year (so no statute-of-limitations problem there). More »