Keller City Council Calls Special Meeting After Lawsuit Over Police Traffic Stop

The police chief demoted a sergeant to an officer after a controversial stop and pepper-spray incident

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The Keller City Council has scheduled a special meeting Tuesday to discuss a controversial police traffic stop and complaints of excessive force that resulted in a federal lawsuit.

On Aug. 25, Dillon Puente was driving to his grandmother’s house when Keller police Sgt. Blake Shimanek pulled him over and accused him of making a wide turn.

The city of Keller released dashcam and body camera video of the incident Wednesday.

Shimanek can be heard on the video asking Puente why he rolled his window up and was acting “suspicious.”

Seconds later, Puente was in handcuffs.

That's when Puente's father Marco drove up and started to record video on his cell phone.

"Hey, take off,” Shimanek told him.

“That's my dad," Dillon Puente told the officer.

"You're about to be arrested for blocking the roadway if you don't park and get out,” Shimanek told Marco Puente.

The dashcam video showed he wasn’t blocking the roadway at all and had stopped next to the curb.

Regardless, Marco Puente did park down the street and walked back up to the scene, still recording, and stood on the sidewalk across from his son and Shimanek.

The sergeant instructed his backup officer, Ankit Tomer, to arrest the Marco Puente "for blocking the roadway."

"This guy is arresting me for just standing here,” Marco Puente said as the two officers threw him to the ground.

Then, the situation escalated even more. Tomer pepper sprayed Puente in the face.

“I’m not even doing anything,” Puente said.

The officers decided to take Dillon Puente to jail for making a wide turn, and his father for resisting arrest and interfering with police.

Marco Puente complained repeatedly about the pepper spray, said he couldn’t breathe and asked for medical assistance.

"I'm suffocating on my own snot,” he said. “Wipe it (my face) with my shirt, please."

But it was more than 15 minutes later when medics met him at the Keller jail and he received assistance wiping and flushing his face.

"My reaction is still the same,” Marco Puente said in an interview Thursday. “I don't know why I got arrested for standing there filming, other than he just didn't like it."

Two days after the incident, Puente said Keller's police chief apologized, agreed to drop all the charges and even reimburse his son’s fine for making a wide turn.

"He met me and shook my hand and gave me a formal apology,” Marco Puente said.

The chief demoted Sgt. Shimanek to officer.

Marco Puente has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, naming officers Shimanek and Tomer.

The lawsuit claims Shimanek targeted Dillon Puente, 23, because he was a young Latino man and he falsely believed he had drugs in his car. No drugs were found.

"I don't believe he should have contact with the public at this point,” Puente’s attorney Scott Palmer said. “Maybe a desk job to really think about his actions because they have consequences."

Palmer’s associate James Roberts agreed.

"They didn't do anything for him to help him after they used the pepper spray on him,” Roberts said. “They knew he was in pain. They were capable of helping him out and they did nothing."

The lawyers said the officers' own videos are their best evidence.

Keller police Chief Brad Fortune did not answer a request for comment Wednesday.

Mayor Armin Mizani posted a message on the city’s webpage saying police must “continually work to strengthen” standards and announcing the city council would hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

“I hope to share more information with residents following that discussion,” Mizani said.

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