Judge Slams Balch Springs Cops for Arresting Man Who Reported Assault

Surveillance video clearly shows one Balch Springs maintenance worker threaten another with a tire iron outside a city convenience store. But two police officers — including one who is now the police chief — decided no crime occurred. The victim was arrested for making a false report.The police eventually dropped the false-report charge against Michael Cunningham, but only after they came to his family’s house in the middle of the night and took him to jail.Cunningham, 59, filed a federal lawsuit alleging two officers in charge of his case, Jonathan Haber and James Young, infringed on his Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful arrest.A federal judge has questioned the officers’ judgment. In a March opinion, he wrote that a jury could conclude they were either "plainly incompetent" or violated the law when they “made the decision to charge Cunningham with filing a false report.” His ruling came as he refused to dismiss the case before trial, as the officers had requested.The judge said videos of what happened outside the store and Cunningham's interrogation “flatly contradict the version of events presented by the officers.”The 2011 incident again raises questions about the interactions of white officers and black residents in Balch Springs. In April, the city’s Police Department came under national scrutiny after an officer shot 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. Jordan was shot and killed as the car he was riding in left a party. The officer was fired and charged with murder. The U.S. Department of Justice recently met with Dallas prosecutors about the case.  Continue reading...

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