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Family filing lawsuit over alleged oppression, assault at hands of Harris County Pct. 4 deputies during arrests

Monday, September 02, 2013

A family is filing a lawsuit against authorities over controversial arrests made two years ago. Dash cam video from the arrests is just now surfacing, and those who were arrested now want charges filed.

A chief deputy from Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's Office is calling the video of his officer's alleged actions during that arrest "very concerning."

David Scherz says he's the guy in the video on the ground being kicked, punched, kneed and pepper sprayed by three deputies in front of his home.

"It was pretty much a situation of chaos," he said. "I was struggling to breathe, struggling for air. It was just a bad situation."

This situation started out as a simple traffic stop in September 2011, according to Pct. 4 Chief Dep. Jim Sumner. Scherz says things escalated when his mom -- Yvonne Scherz -- saw a deputy in her driveway accusing him of running a stop sign.

Yvonne Scherz says she was manhandled for questioning officers who were on her property and for refusing to go inside.

"He charged me, grabbed me, dragged me and slapped cuffs on me. I couldn't believe this was happening," she said.

And that's not it. Scherz's siblings and father claim they were also roughed up, detained and charged with interfering with the duties of a public servant for trying to come to their family's aid.

Those charges were dropped early this year.

Scherz and his civil rights attorney Randy Kallinen are now pressing forward with a federal lawsuit against three of the officers. They claim Scherz was compliant when the officers pounced on him, causing a broken rib among other injuries.

"We were yelling, 'You can't do this in our country.' I was yelling, 'This is excessive force; you denied us our rights,'" Scherz said.

Scherz will also be asking the district attorney's office to bring official oppression and assault charges against the deputies in that video.

Sumner says the constable's office has not yet been served with a copy of the lawsuit. He says it was only 30 days ago Scherz and his family filed an official complaint about the two-year-old incident.

The family said it waited so long because it was focused on fighting the criminal charges.

"That's actually why we're here, to let everyone know that this happens and until people speak up and say look at that they are doing, they can't do this anymore. It's going to continue," Yvonne Scherz said.

The chief says internal affairs is investigating, and if any wrong-doing is found on the part of any officer, Sumner says it will be reported to the District Attorney's Office of Public Integrity.

Sumner says it's possible the constable's office may release more information Tuesday when staff returns from the holiday.

Find Demond on Facebook at ABC13DemondFernandez or on Twitter at @demondfernandez

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