Lawsuit: Southlake Woman Says Officers Roughed Her Up

Officers said they were searching for marijuana

In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, a Southlake woman claims police slammed her to the ground on her front porch, falsely arrested her and forced their way into her house in a gated community.

Candace Westfall, a Dallas attorney specializing in environmental law, said her back was injured in the late-night incident in January 2014.

In a court document, police said they were investigating a neighbor's complaint that Westfall's teenage son and some friends were smoking marijuana.

She said her son had several friends over for a "Star Wars" sleepover.

Officers said Westfall interfered when they were trying to question her son. She was charged with interfering with public duties. The case was recently dropped.

According to an officer's sworn statement, Westfall "began to swing her arms in a combative manner" and refused to comply with officers' instructions.

In a news conference at her attorney's office Tuesday afternoon, Westfall strongly denied she ever tried to fight officers and said the officers' actions were unprovoked.

"I couldn't move," she said. "They were yelling things at me like 'cooperate' and 'relax.' I had no context for what was happening to me. I didn't know what was going on."

She also said at least one officer forced his way into her house without consent to search for marijuana.

In the lawsuit, Westfall claims officers tried to provoke a fight with her while she was handcuffed and sitting in the back of a police car.

"I'm going to try to talk to her a little bit, see if she'll fight me," one officer said in a recorded conversation, according to the lawsuit.

"Might need a little tase too," the lawsuit quoted another officer as saying.

The criminal case against Westfall recently was dropped.

Westfall's son gave police a small amount of marijuana but nobody was charged with drug possession, she said.

Southlake police declined to comment because of the pending lawsuit.

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Southlake First Amended Complaint (Text)
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