GALVESTON, Texas – A La Marque man has filed a lawsuit against the Galveston Police Department claiming that officers used excessive force on him during an arrest in March.
Reginald Davis said in the lawsuit that he was kicked and punched by officers and that his face was held down in the water near the jetties.
The alleged incident took place on March 19, when before driving home to La Marque, Davis said he felt sleepy, so he stopped along the seawall to take a nap.
Minutes later, a Galveston police officer asked Davis to step out of his car—there was a warrant out for his arrest for an excessive speeding ticket. However, after Davis was patted down, he took off towards the ocean.
He was hit by a Taser and brought down by the officer.
Minutes later, more officers arrive to help, while a dash cam rolled.
“You saw at least 20 strikes. You saw at least three kicks to the face. You saw a man’s head being held under water,” Chad Pinkerton, defense attorney, said. “That’s excessive force.”
Pinkerton said his 34-year-old client did run, but did not resist arrest, especially since his right arm was in a cast.
Watching the video of the incident brought tears to Davis’ eyes.
“I really thought I was going to die. I really thought I was,” Davis said. “I made a mistake. I ran, I shouldn’t have did that.”
However, Davis is no stranger the Galveston police.
“He refused to repeated commands, he’s got a long lengthy history with the Galveston Police Department,” Galveston Police Chief Henry Porretto said.
Davis has been convicted on drug charges in the past and has served jail time.
In this case, police suspect Davis may have been trying to get rid of something in the ocean. Porretto said his officers responded appropriately to a dangerous situation.
“Police work is dirty sometimes and our people are out there doing a tough job. And they did this within policy. Of course it looks terrible, but it is what it is, and they were making a lawful arrest,” the chief said.
Davis said the incident has delayed his graduation from college and has also affected his ability to work as a longshoreman.
“I’ve made a few mistakes in my life. I will own up to that, that was one of them, just ‘cause you run, it doesn’t make you don’t deserve that,” Davis said.
Davis is suing monetary compensation. His attorney says an exact amount has not been determined.
However, what he said he ultimately wants is for the officers involved to be off the streets.