You may remember the video of a deputy in northeast Harris County asking a man who was at his own home for identification. Now that man, who was mistaken for a felony fugitive, is filing a lawsuit against the Precinct 4 deputy constable.
Clarence Evans says he’s suing because his constitutional rights were violated.
“This has been an emotionally turbulent time for this family,” says one of Evans’ attorneys, Andre Evans.
The video was shot last month by Evans’ wife after Deputy Lindley arrived at their northeast Harris County home asking Evans for I.D. while he was in his front yard with his two kids.
“He was willing to give his I.D. at that point. That’s the reason his wallet was out,” says Attorney U.A. Lewis, who also represents Evans.
“The trust factor was tarnished once Sgt. Lindley entered his property under the false pretenses of investigating a lost dog report,” adds Attorney Evans.
Deputy Lindley was actually there because he was told Mr. Evans was a fugitive named Quintin Prejean, who’s wanted on felony drug charges.
“This type of incident is exclusively happening to black males,” says Attorney Evans.
“This is not a case where we were just driving down the road and we decided to speak to a guy in his front yard,” explains Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman, who says Precinct 4 received information that the fugitive, who also has a beard and similar hair, was in the area.
“I see Mr. Evans’ viewpoint, I really do, but I also see the cop’s viewpoint,” adds Constable Herman.
The constable says because Evans hasn’t filed a complaint, he can’t investigate.
“We can’t question an officer unless we have a filed complaint. That’s there for our employee’s protection and EEOC regulations,” says Herman.
Evans says his 6-year-old son was left confused.
“He actually asked me that night, ‘Daddy, cops don’t like bad guys. Why they don’t like you?’” Evans said.
The lawsuit claims Lindley has a history of violating civil rights. Lindley left the Houston Police Department in 2013 after Evans’ attorney says he was indicted then acquitted.
“That was after he kicked someone who was restrained, in the head,” says Lewis.
As for Evans, a second Precinct 4 deputy arrived and he and Lindley closely compared Evans with Prejean’s picture. The officers decided Evans was not the fugitive, but Lindley did get Evans’ I.D.
“He snatched the wallet from his (Evans’) hand and illegally searched through that wallet for his identification,” says Lewis.
Constable Herman says he would like to see what seems to be an us versus them mentality change.
“It’s because of the perception of one or two bad cops and then they blast it (video) out and then everybody’s our enemy. That’s got to change folks,” says Constable Herman.
Why didn’t Evans show the officer his identification? He says he felt it was his constitutional right as a homeowner not to. However, our legal analyst says even at your home, if an officer has a “lawful basis for inquiry,” if they tell you they are conducting a lawful investigation, you are required to show your I.D.
Evans’ lawsuit doesn’t name a specific dollar amount. He says he’s seeking justice.
“Our guy went out there and did the best he could with the situation. Could we have handled it better? Probably,” says the Constable Herman.