Francisco Olvera Sues Sealy, Saying He Was Arrested For Taking A Cop's Picture
Better not be a cel-phone camera in there
Francisco Olvera says all he did was take a cop's photo with his cell phone. And for that, he claims, he was thrown into the back of a police car, handcuffed at the police station, made the butt of racist jokes by officers, and jailed on false charges.
Olvera, of Sealy, a small town of about 6,000 souls about 50 miles from Houston, is now suing that city, its police chief and the arresting officer in federal court.
As first reported by Courthouse News Service, Olvera says he was at home working on a project out on his patio last October when he turned on some music using his 4-inch computer speakers. Soon after, he jumped in the car to get supplies at a hardware store, but when he returned, a cop appeared on his patio, allegedly there to check-out a complaint about the music.
Olvera says that the officer never asked him to turn the music down, but did want to see an ID. When Olvera walked inside to grab his wallet, which was on the kitchen counter, the officer apparently followed him inside.
That's when the trouble seems to have begun.
Olvera claims that since he never invited the officer inside, he believed the cop had no right to follow him indoors. To document this, Olvera says he yanked out his cell phone and snapped a shot of the officer standing in his home.
According to the lawsuit, the officer quickly became angry and told Olvera he was engaging in "illegal photography." The officer then saw a can of beer on the kitchen counter, Olvera claims, which prompted the officer to slap handcuffs on Olvera, put him in his police car and take him to the police station.
While at the station, Olvera claims, he was the subject of racist remarks. Olvera says that the arresting officer said, "Do you know what I tell Mexicans when they get loud?"
"What?" replied another cop.
"No chinges con migo pinche culero."
According to the lawsuit, the arresting officer translated it to mean, "Don't be fucking with me."
Olvera says he was then moved to the city jail, charged with public intoxication and "loud music." Three months later, Olvera says, a jury acquitted him on all charges.
Olvera's civil rights lawsuit claims that he was illegally charged without probable cause, jailed illegally, and was the victim of an unreasonable search.
His attorney, Roland Darby, could not be reached.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.