The Houston Area a Woman Says the Cops Put Her Face Down in A Pile of Fire Ants!

A Galveston County woman is suing Santa Fe and two police officers, claiming they “hog-tied” her and pushed her “face-forwards into a pile of fire ants,” according to court records FOX 26 reporters received. “Thought it was appropriate to beat up a woman who suffered from mental illness,” local parent Taylor Rogers said in her lawsuit, claiming that Sgt. Ruben Espinoza and Officer Christian Carranza used excessive force to halt her at her child’s school.

Rogers addressed the incident, which happened over three years ago, at a news conference outside the Santa Fe Justice Center on Saturday along with civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen. Legal research database CourtListener reports that the matter was moved to a Galveston court earlier this year after being originally filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas Houston Division.

Is that suffering? I call it torture, even if that’s a strong word, Kallinen told KHOU 11 reporters. What is it like when you’re shouting and yelling at fire ants while the police hold you down in a bed of them? KHOU 11 also got pictures of Rogers’s face covered with dozens of bug bites.

KPRC reporters and court records state that on August 19, 2021, Rogers was driving her 9-year-old kid to Roy J. Wollam Elementary School when an officer—who was only identified as “Officer Moore” in the original complaint—ran to her car and yelled at her to stop. The complaint went into great length about Rogers’ panicky backing into the bus lane while trying to travel the other way.

According to the lawsuit, Moore next stood in Rogers’ path as Espinoza “rammed” her car with her son still inside. Carranza, it said, “slammed” Rogers to the ground and shackled her, “burying” her face in a mound of fire ants.

“Reminding her that her son was still in the car and was watching as Plaintiff was being tortured,” another officer said to Rogers while she was “screaming and pleading,” according to the lawsuit. “Plaintiff became silent while in agonizing pain because she didn’t want her son to hear her. Any logical individual viewing the video would have their conscience rocked.”

Video from police body cameras was sent to several news organizations. Rogers is shown in a video that was given to KPRC being held prone on the ground and screaming, “Ants are getting on my face! Kindly.”

The original complaint from Rogers’ attorney stated, “Ms. Rogers was not armed.” She had nothing to defend herself with. She is also five feet seven inches tall and weighs about one hundred pounds. Almost all of the cops on the scene were male and all larger than Ms. Rogers.” Rogers claimed in her lawsuit to have experienced financial losses, emotional pain, mental suffering, medical and legal costs, and physical injuries. Her damages claim is for an unknown sum.

Now serving as Santa Fe ISD Police chief, Espinoza has responded by denying the charges made against him. He claims the body cam film does not tell the whole story in an interview with KPRC. As per his story, Rogers was acting strangely when he tried to caution her about trying to cut to the front of the parent drop-off area.

Facedown in a pile of ants: Galveston county woman suing officers over  alleged mistreatment

“She turned her car into a bus driveway where the bus drops off kids,” he told Michael Horton and Rilwan Balogun of KPRC. “That spot is right next to the school’s front door, right next to where children are being dropped off. Her determination to continue made me worry that she may run over someone close to the school. I so stopped her car from doing it by using mine.

Espinoza called Rogers noncompliant and said there was no ant pile apparent where the officers had detained her. Soon after hearing her screams about the ants, he added, he gave the order for police to put her in a police car, but she resisted. “She was not complying, hence the description of the ants lasted only a few seconds. If she had given up resisting at that point, she would have been hoisted off the ground sooner, Espinoza told reporters.

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Although Santa Fe and its police chief have not commented publicly, City Manager Alun Thomas is alleged to have backed the officers involved and to be happy with the findings of an internal inquiry. Thomas said KPRC, “We have a procedure in place and certain standards we want our officers to meet. “When officers do not meet those standards, the proper action is done against them.”

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