ROUND ROCK: Excessive force lawsuit against police officers returns to court

An excessive force lawsuit against several Round Rock police officers is back in court after it was initially dismissed.

A judge ruled Tuesday to reinstate three parts of a 2015 lawsuit in which the plaintiff, Lionel Alexander, had sued the city of Round Rock and four named Round Rock police officers.

A district court had previously granted the city of Round Rock’s request to dismiss all of Alexander’s claims. The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday to reverse that dismissal. The case will now return to district court to be decided. 

Alexander is accusing the officers of using excessive force and violating his rights as laid out in the Texas Constitution when they arrested him in September 2013. 

Alexander had stopped in a hotel parking lot to try to feed a stray cat when he encountered Round Rock police officer Marciano Garza and three others, who were curious about his activities. Alexander alleges that officers pulled him out of his car, threw him to the ground and injured his mouth before being taken to Williamson County Jail. 

Alexander was initially charged with resisting arrest but was never prosecuted, according to Williamson County court records.

“On the facts alleged, we conclude that the officers’ use of force was objectively unreasonable,” the appeals court wrote. “Nothing  in Alexander’s statements or actions indicated that he posed any risk of harm to the officers. Nor did he pose any flight risk – indeed, he stayed in his vehicle and made no attempt to leave while Garza awaited backup. Perhaps Alexander’s refusal to exit his vehicle on Garza’s command warranted physical removal from the car, but it did not warrant throwing Alexander onto the ground, kneeing him in the back and pushing his face into the concrete.”

When the case returns to court, the court may ultimately conclude that Alexander’s constitutional rights were not violated, the appeals court wrote. But, based on the facts alleged, the case should not be automatically dismissed, the ruling said. 

"We have only heard one side of the story,” the appeals court wrote. “After discovery is complete, the district court may well correctly determine that none of Alexander’s claims can survive summary judgment.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Judge denies Jerry Sandusky's request for new sex abuse trial
Judge denies Jerry Sandusky's request for new sex abuse trial

A Pennsylvania judge has denied former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s request for a new trial. Judge John Foradora issued the order and an opinion on Sandusky's Post Conviction Relief Act appeal Wednesday afternoon. Sandusky argued that he did not receive adequate representation by his lawyers during the trial and that prosecutors...
Community news: Fosters needed for larger dogs

TRAVIS COUNTY EAST AUSTIN Fosters needed for larger dogs The Austin Animal Center, at 7201 Levander Loop, Building A, is in need of temporary foster homes for large and medium dogs. The time period needed is about two weeks. When space becomes minimal, the center relies on help from the community to save animals. Events including slower summer adoptions...
Court: Examine if Austin crime lab botched death penalty evidence
Court: Examine if Austin crime lab botched death penalty evidence

The state’s highest criminal court on Wednesday ordered a closer examination of death row inmate Areli Escobar’s claims that shoddy work by the Austin police crime lab compromised evidence in his case. A Travis County jury sentenced Escobar, 38, to death in the 2009 sexual assault and stabbing of his neighbor, 17-year-old Bianca Maldonado...
Spicewood family recovers from Vegas shooting
Spicewood family recovers from Vegas shooting

It took about two weeks after the shooting in Las Vegas for Spicewood resident Kim Daoust to finally have a good day. After everything she saw, after feeling her husband Chad Daoust get shot as he lay on her on the concert grounds, after losing track of him and then frantically searching for almost three hours before hospital officials called her son...
Students view augmented reality
Students view augmented reality

Fifth-grader Hana Daboub, third from right, and fellow St. Gabriel’s Catholic School students use special cameras to view placed 3D objects through Google’s Expeditions Augmented Reality program. Students can walk all around the objects, get in close to spot details and step back to see the full picture.
More Stories