There are probably lots of ways to get your ass kicked at a Walmart.
Ashley Kucharski of Harris County says she found at least one. And all she claims she needed was a run-in with the cops.
In September 2008, Kucharski was detained at a Walmart for trying to take 14 shirts from the store. Soon, the Tomball police showed up, and according to the $6 million lawsuit Kucharski has filed in federal court against several officers and the City of Tomball, they placed her in handcuffs inside the store's security office.
Kucharski claims she was just sitting there, calmly, not resisting or putting up a fight, when all of a sudden the officers turned on her.
One officer "did violently grab and jerk" Kucharski up out of her seat, according to the lawsuit, and then "did violently throw plaintiff against a wall." She claims that the officer threw her to the ground, where she lay on her stomach, hands shackled behind her back, while an officer kicked her.
Kucharski's lawyer, Steven Hershkowitz, tells Hair Balls that Kucharski suffered a herniated disc. In the lawsuit, he writes that the cops beat Kucharski up "solely to punish" her and to "sadistically inflict physical pain and suffering as well as emotional distress."
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According to court records, the police did arrest Kucharski and charged her with felony robbery, but the charge didn't stick. Within three days, the DA dismissed the case for lack of probable cause. However, six months later Kucharski was charged with misdemeanor theft for the same incident at Walmart. She eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 180 days in jail.
It was her second misdemeanor conviction. In November 2008, court records show that she was sentenced to 10 days in jail, also for theft.
Hershkowitz, however, doesn't believe that her arrest record is at issue.
"Our allegations are not that there was an absence of probable cause," he says. "Our allegations are not that it was a false arrest. Our allegations are that in the process of making what might have been a lawful arrest, they used excessive force."