In August 2018, Sammie Anderson called police to her home to break up an argument between her two sons. When police arrived at the home, the scene appeared quiet and calm. Dashcam video of the encounter shows police approaching the family with weapons drawn, ordering the family to “get on the ground” and eventually slamming the mother to the pavement. The video also shows police using a stun gun on her son, Grant, even after he complied with their orders to lay down on the street.
On Monday, Anderson filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Dallas suburb. The suit is seeking reforms to protect other African American residents.
The lawsuit alleges that Anderson and two of her adult sons, Grant and Sam, were victims of racial profiling, excessive force and unlawful detention by the six officers who responded to their 911 call.
The suit also accuses DeSoto Mayor Curtistene McCowan and police Chief Joe Costa of covering up the police misconduct and refusing to punish them despite violations of policy.
“We hope DeSoto will finally take responsibility for the mishandling of this 911 call,’’ said David Henderson of Ellwanger Law, lead counsel in the case. “The DeSoto Police Department’s policies and procedures need to be improved to make sure other families are not treated the way Sammie Anderson and her family were.’’
Grant and his brother Sam were arrested and accused of interfering with the officers. But the dashcam and body camera videos of the encounter showed they did nothing illegal. The Dallas County district attorney refused to pursue charges against them in the “interest of justice.”
The lawsuit does not specify reforms or damages sought by the family.