BUDA, TEXAS - KVUE News has obtained the body camera video of Buda Police Officer Demerriell Young while he was investigating a suspected shoplifting case at the Wal-Mart on Old San Antonio Road on October 3, 2014.
The video shows Young had his hands on Juan Martinez, who was 73-years-old at the time, when Martinez fell to the ground.
Now Martinez and his wife Guadalupe, who is also in her 70's, have filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Buda, Officer Young and Wal-Mart. They are being represented by Robert Ranco of the Carlson Law Firm.
"They got separated at some point while shopping. He in his scooter, she in her scooter, and then she tried to find him," explained Ranco. "And in the process of finding him, it's my understanding that she inadvertently might have gone out or near one of the doors."
Ranco says Wal-Mart staff took Guadalupe into an office, accusing her of shoplifting.
The video shows Officer Young arrived and briefly talked with a Wal-Mart employee before going into the store where he passes Juan, who was getting off of his scooter. Juan then stepped into the office where his wife was being held.
"Just step outside," Young told Juan Martinez.
"This is my wife," the Vietnam veteran said.
"Just step outside for a second," Officer Young repeated.
"No sir, I'm not going to do that," said Martinez. "I've done nothing wrong. I've done nothing wrong."
"I'm going to ask you to step outside," Young said.
"Why would you want," Martinez said before Young interrupted him saying, "I'm asking you to step outside. I just got here. Okay either you're gonna step outside or I'm going to place you outside or I'm going to place you under arrest for interfering."
"Okay," Martinez replied.
The video goes on to show Young trying to grab Martinez who pulls away. The officer then puts both hands on Martinez forcing him out of the office until he falls onto the ground, screaming in pain.
Young then stopped Guadalupe from going to check on her husband.
"Have a seat ma'am," Young said. "I did not do anything."
"You pushed him," Guadalupe responded.
Ranco said while the officer did call EMS, Martinez lay on the ground, ribs broken, for more than five minutes.
Guadalupe Martinez was charged for theft and Juan for interfering. Their charges are still pending. But Ranco says their constitutional rights were violated.
"We all have the right not to be abused. Not to have police officers excessively use force against us. When there is an excessive use of force, that's an infringement of our fourth amendment rights," he said. "When we look at Mr. Martinez in this circumstance, I think everything he did was completely reasonable, he was frustrated, he was not completely compliant, but he also was not aggressive and he didn't pose any threat to anybody."
The lawsuit accuses Buda and the police officer of violating the Martinez's fourth and fourteenth amendment rights. it accuses Wal-Mart of negligence and false imprisonment.
Wal-Mart provided KVUE News with the following statement:
"We take this matter seriously. We haven’t been served with the complaint yet. Once we have the opportunity to review the allegations, we’ll respond appropriately with the court.”
Buda Police Department's spokesperson said the city hasn't been served yet either and therefore they can't comment. KVUE News could not reach Officer Young.
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