Lawsuit Alleges Another Isolated Incident

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

In Dallas:

According to the complaint, which made its way to Courthouse News yesterday, Cantu, a diesel mechanic, was making his lunch January 22, 2010, when he saw a few cops streaking across his yard. A deafening explosion shook the room as a flash bomb shot through the door. Nearly 20 officers crashed in.

“Get on the ground!” they allegedly ordered him. Cantu, according to the complaint, obliged and was zipcuffed. Inexplicably, the filing claims, the officers kicked and punched him until he was unconscious, lying in a pool of his own blood on the kitchen floor. Meanwhile, they searched his house and allegedly didn’t find what they were after. Cantu’s alleged butcher’s bill: a broken orbital bone, a broken nose, a concussion, traumatic brain injury, a loss of vision in his left eye and loss of hearing in his left ear. According to his complaint, the “injuries required surgical intervention and caused significant scarring and disfigurement.”

Cantu was arrested but never charged with a crime.

This one gets stranger, in that there seems to be no record of the incident anywhere. And Cantu’s lawyers didn’t respond to the Dallas Observer’s request for comment.

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29 Responses to “Lawsuit Alleges Another Isolated Incident”

  1. #1 |  Marty | 

    if there had been only 3 or 4 guys, I would’ve suspected a fake swat team.

  2. #2 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Police-related Daubert case over at the VC:

    Case flies in the face of a long post I made here last week about police and Daubert, but, of course, it is still nice to see Daubert law applied correctly in a criminal case.

  3. #3 |  Andrew Roth | 

    New policy:

    If a warrant service operation leaves a householder half blind and half deaf with an orbital fracture, or if the paperwork documenting the use of force in a warrant service is completed in a fashion indicating negligence or falsification, every cop on the squad, down to the last man, is summarily fired and stripped of his POST certification. (The sex-specific language isn’t a linguistic artifact in this case; if I’m not mistaken, female officers are underrepresented in these atrocities.) Officers involved will be recertified and rehired only after enough of them have turned state’s witness to sort out the mess and prove that the individual officers seeking recertification are fit for duty.

    The disgusting and downright scary thing is that this policy would actually be controversial. These thugs are supposedly our “finest” and, especially if they’re veterans, “heroes.” No heed is given to whether they’re actually doing their fucking jobs.

    The wave of combat veterans returning stateside and getting sworn employment at police agencies that give them special consideration for their military service is scary as hell. It has the potential to cause a huge wave of official violence. Our police agencies need to vet and supervise combat veterans with utmost scrutiny. They’re dangerous. They have above-average incidences of mental disorders and proclivities to violence, but we treat them like demigods and have a snit at the suggestion that they aren’t inherently fit to enforce civilian law. The brass needs to drill a message into their heads: you are NOT in the goddamn Army, and if you act like you are you’ll go to prison.

    Oops, that would go against our entire mindset about the “war on crime.” So be it. There are a lot of people in the land who have their heads up their asses about the romance of war, and not enough military officers and police commanders who are willing to chew them out for being ignorant chickenhawk asshats. We need some fucking adult supervision around here. I wish people like David Petraeus and Charlie Beck were more proactive about telling bootlicking idiots to pull their heads out of their asses, because there are a whole lot of Americans who need such instruction.

    The Dallas County DA is apparently one of the good guys, so I really hope his office follows through on this case and prosecutes the hell out of these bad cops.

  4. #4 |  Dante | 

    “This one gets stranger, in that there seems to be no record of the incident anywhere. ”

    Hmmm. I sense a new police tactic in the war on everybody.

    Victim: You smashed into my house and assaulted me!

    Cops: {sounds of paper shredding in background} No, we didn’t.

  5. #5 |  thelbert | 

    this is a good reason to go to costco and get a $500 surveilance system. i did

  6. #6 |  PersonFromPorlock | 

    The Google Satellite image of the plaintiff’s address (from the complaint) shows a house in a densely built up residential area. It’d be astonishing if there are no independent witnesses to the alleged event.

  7. #7 |  Danny | 

    I thought it might have been a false-flag robbery, too, maybe by real cops off the clock, but it says he was “arrested but never charged with a crime” so is there a record of the “arrest” at least? Was he taken to a police station or was the arrest just on-site?

  8. #8 |  Don't comment much | 

    Dallas Observer blog account is here:

    PDF of complaint in US District Court is here:

    It has more particulars than the short courthousenews story.

  9. #9 |  Dwight Brown | 

    “…there seems to be no record of the incident anywhere”.

    Yeah, that looks bad, and I would be inclined to say it looks bad for the police, but:

    “Cantu’s lawyers didn’t respond to the Dallas Observer’s request for comment.”

    That kind of makes me flip in the other direction. The Dallas Observer is pretty far from being some sort of right-wing cop supporting rag; I can see reasons why Cantu’s lawyers wouldn’t want to go into detail about their cause of action and legal strategy, but not talking to a sympathetic media source at all?

  10. #10 |  Burgers Allday | 

    The p.d. probably doesn’t want publicity so that nothing goes into the files of the officers. The plaintiffs’ attorney knows this and is using it as a bargaining chip (eg, if this settles quickly then officers will not need to be named).

    The Dallas Observer article basically implies at the end that this is why the Dallas Observer reporter thinks everybody is being hush hush, and/or playing dumb, for right now. If that is what the reporter thought, I bet he’s right.

  11. #11 |  Goober | 

    See, I’ll bet they start by saying that he was beaten because he resisted arrest, but the thing is, if someone lit off a bomb in my house and then rushed me with submachine guns, I’m not totally convinced that my baser instincts wouldn’t at least temporarily take over before I’d had a chance to chake the cobwebs of shock and ringing ears out, and my baser instincts say “run like hell or fight like hell” before I’ve had a chance to talk them out of it. Doing this and then acting surprised when the guy you just blew up doesn’t instantly do the rational thing and drop to the ground and submit is sort of silly – the guy is dazed, by the very nature of the design of the flash bang. He isn’t going to be capable of following orders or rationally assuming that they guys who just stormed his house with guns are actually cops.

    What ever happened to just knocking on the door? I just don’t get why we need to perform paramilitary raids on a diesel mechnic’s house. Did the guy have a history of violent priors? To justify this, he’d better have a long history of very violent priors.

  12. #12 |  Goober | 

    And one more thing – it would mean absolutely nothing to me even if they DID find what they were looking for (probably drugs). There is nothing other than an honest-to-god armed standoff that justifies this sort of action against a presumed to be innocent civilian.

    The fact that he didn’t have what they were looking for only proves my point – that he was innocent, and should have been presumed to be innocent before they blew him up and beat the shit out of him. Someone needs to go to jail over this. Civil resolution just isn’t enough.

  13. #13 |  Michael Chaney | 

    They shouldn’t had the FBI bring their chainsaw.

  14. #14 |  tired dog | 

    If this account is correct street justice is the only answer. Reap what you sow leo.

  15. #15 |  Stick | 

    Maybe Danny Cantu was banging one of the pigs wives/girlfriends/daughters and they had to have a quiet word with him?

  16. #16 |  BSK |

    The date, address, and approximate time of day all match up. It claims evidence was found, including an illegal fiream, drugs, and a club. The evidence was taken and stored. Smene’s got some ‘splaining to do.

  17. #17 |  Half deaf, half blind, no repercussions. | Rallias Ubernerd | 

    […] Source […]

  18. #18 |  Mark | 

    BSK, what are you comparing the address in your linked report to?

  19. #19 |  Anonymous Coward | 

    I’ve been saying for a while now that the city and county governments and law enforcement of Dallas are completely out of control. The only solution in my mind is to revoke the charters and let the city and county both be absorbed by neighboring counties, dissolve the current local government, and tear down Lew Sterrett. This may sound extreme, but the problems are extreme. Lew Sterrett failed federal inspections year after year after year and was never shut down despite the threat being made over and over. This kind of lax oversight is allowing the criminals to run the government. It has to stop. The only way is to dissolve the government and let the county be absorbed by other counties. That would mean all the current administration would be out of jobs, and all the local police, guards, sheriffs, etc. would be out of jobs, as well as all administrators. This HAS to be done. It’s the only way to stop the rot of evil in Dallas.

  20. #20 |  None | 

    This whole news story is clearly fake

  21. #21 |  burp | 

    Thats called planted evidence.

  22. #22 |  schabadoo | 

    — Smene’s got some ‘splaining to do.—

    No record of the incident? No arrest?

    Yeah, they certainly do have to explain themselves.

  23. #23 |  Bealittle | 

    maybe the guy deserved it and just managed to get rid of his stuff right in time. gratz to the police for beating up a scumbag.

  24. #24 |  Steve Gates III | 

    If you download movies/music you can expect this kind of thing to happen to you. The guy was clearly downloading movies for personal use and the cops have every right to @#$ you up for stealing IP. This is the USA not some 3rd world country that allows downloading.

    buy your movies like everybody else or get @#$’ed up.

  25. #25 |  UhOh | 

    Say Hello to NDAA, signed into law by your own Obama, and supported by the k-street man Romney :D

    Ron Paul or None At All.

  26. #26 |  Don't comment much | 

    #18 Mark wrote on February 4th, 2012 at 2:41 pm:

    BSK, what are you comparing the address in your linked report to?

    I’m not BSK, but here’s the connection.

    From the DPD police report:


    From the federal suit complaint, page 2:

    “1.01 Plaintiff Danny Cantu is an individual residing in Dallas County, Texas at 1103 Elmhurst, Dallas, Texas 75201.”

  27. #27 |  Tex | 

    A club!?!? :wtf: since when was a CLUB considered an illegal item??? I guess I better saw my 30-year-old training boken in pieces, because it could be considered “illegal”. Oh, and let’s not forget my fencing foils, I’m sure that’ll get me 20 years. >:-[

    Welcome to today’s Police State, the Corporate States of AmeriKKKa…

  28. #28 |  MATT | 

    Filing an Open Records request with the city is a breeze. They have a website set up, and I have found the city to be quite cooperative. That being said my request was related to an ongoing city parks construction project in my neighborhood and not a more sensitive issue like this, but if you’re really interested in doing some digging it is worth a shot. I set up an appointment directly with the department I requested information about and was given full paper files and desk space for as long as I needed.

  29. #29 |  evodbor | 

    “Our police agencies need to vet and supervise combat veterans with utmost scrutiny. They’re dangerous. They have above-average incidences of mental disorders and proclivities to violence, but we treat them like demigods and have a snit at the suggestion that they aren’t inherently fit to enforce civilian law” It is the individual not the military. Blanketing the all combat veterans then throwing snide comments about treating them like Demi-gods makes you sound no better than a racist. After 8 years I have my issues from the marine corps, but I will not use violence unless defending myself. Honestly I cant stand blanketing comments like yours. I am sure everyone else on this site thinks Military members are monsters like you do, and they are just as prejudiced as any KKK, or Nation of Islam. I had to desensitize myself to violence like everyone else serving in the suck. It takes balls to do what we did. Not a day went by without praying to see my wife and kids but knew terrorist would slaughter my family as well as yours if they could. I will say that I am flat out bias against cop violence period. I believe many cops become cops because of the power they hold and become corrupted. Not all, but definitely many from my personal experience with off duty cops at the shooting range. A cop should have a minimum of an Associates Degree as far as I am concerned. BTW I became a Registered Nurse and dealt with many brash cops in the ER as well, another reason I will admit to having a probably faulty view of the police force, but i admit it. I will say more good cops than bad overall though. Have a good one all.