A 65-year-old woman who worked for NASA and the Los Alamos nuclear lab is suing two Houston police officers for allegedly roughing her up and throwing her in jail for 15 hours because of an argument over dog poop.
Hatice Cullingford got in an argument with a 26-year-old resident of her Clear Lake neighborhood when she saw him and a female acquaintance walking a dog in front of her house in August 2009. The man, Robert Shlemon, has a drug conviction and at the time was wanted on several warrants, Cullingford's attorney says.
"In full view of Dr. Cullingford Wanted Criminal Shlemon and the other individual then proceeded to allow to defecate on Dr. Cullingford's well-manicured lawn," the lawsuit somewhat floridly puts it.
An argument ensued -- Cullingford says Shlemon threatened to go get his gun -- and the two called the cops on Cullingford.
"They said she was threatening them," her attorney, Randall Kallinen, tells Hair Balls.
The cops came and handcuffed her, he says, and then proceeded -- without a warrant or permission -- to search her purse and house looking for a weapon. They found none but charged her with assault by threat.
She was taken to the Mykawa Road substation where, the suit says, she "was at least forcefully grabbed and shoved by several jailers causing pain, bruising and lacerations."
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Along the way she received some threats about being tasered, but Kallinen says there is nothing in the public record that claims she was violent. (The city has filed for a protective order concerning some evidence, he says, so he can't talk about some of it.)
The charge against Cullingford was later dismissed.
The case involves Kallinen battling once again with the city over getting security-cam video from the city.
"I get a lot of complaints about the Mykawa station, and I take them with a grain of salt, but they don't give video," he says. "I had three people -- one person got his video and I never heard from him again, so I guess there was nothing on it, but the other two they refused to release it. So they can do it when they want, but they don't."