Dallas settles for $1.1 million in false arrest case

False arrest

Credit: Dallas PD

Dallas police provided squad car camera footage showing what happened when Officer Matthew Antkowiak attempted to arrest Ronald Jones on December 18, 2009.

Print
Email
|

by REBECCA LOPEZ / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on March 27, 2014 at 7:40 AM

DALLAS — The City of Dallas gave $1.1 million to Ronald Jones on Wednesday for his claims that he was beaten and falsely arrested by Dallas police  — and then spent 15 months in jail as a result.

On December 18, 2009, Dallas police got a call of two white men fighting in downtown Dallas.

But then Dallas police Officer Matthew Antkowiak saw Jones — who is African-American — crossing Reunion Boulevard.

"Mr. Jones is walking down the street. Doesn't fit the description at all," said his attorney, Don Tittle.

The officer claimed Jones was throwing beer cans, so he pulled him over to arrest him.

"From there, he pulls one of Mr. Jones' arms up very aggressively and Mr. Jones turns around to see what is going on and why was he being placed under arrest, and from there it goes,” Tittle said.

The officer took Jones to the ground and hit him a few times. The two struggled as more officers arrived.

Two dash camera videos obtained by News 8 show multiple officers on top of Jones; one officer is seen kicking him several times.

Jones' attorney his the 62-year-old client was crying for help.

In his report, Officer Antkowiak stated that Jones "...took his right hand and grabbed the officer by his throat, choking him and lifting him off the ground."

But take a closer look at the dash camera video; it's Antkowiak who is on top of Jones, choking him.

In his official report, Officer Antkowiak also claimed that Jones "kicked him in the testicles and groin area, while still choking him."

But that never happens on video.

Jones' attorney says on the second dash camera video, the officer is asked to turn off the camera. Then the officers said they found a crack pipe and claimed Jones was intoxicated.

Jones was arrested for aggravated assault of a police officer and spent 15 months in jail until his attorney started requesting the dash camera videos as evidence.

"Had the videos not surfaced, it's likely that Mr. Jones would have been convicted of this and served a very long prison sentence," Tittle said.

On the day Jones' case was set to go to trial, the district attorney dropped the charges.

Nearly two years after the incident, the police department finally opened internal affairs and criminal investigations into the officers involved in this incident.

Antkowiak resigned; the other officers were cleared. Chief David Brown told News 8 they could not find evidence of excessive force, and he said Antkowiak suffered a concussion during the struggle and had to be hospitalized.

Still — faced with the facts in the case — the city gave Jones more than a million dollars in his lawsuit against the officers.

"He spent 15 months in jail for something he clearly didn’t do," Tittle said. "I doubt money would make up for that."

Chief Brown stressed the city settled because focus groups told them they would lose the case.

Brown also said since this happened, he has enacted stricter policies on how investigations like this are handled. He also says he is disciplining officers more who violate the department's rules and cross over the line.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

Print
Email
|