HARRISON COUNTY, TEXAS (KLTV) - A Waskom man who says he was beaten by a Harrison County deputy after being taken into custody without cause has filed a lawsuit against five sheriff’s office employees.
Video released by an attorney shows Charles Collins, who uses a wheelchair, being transferred from a patrol car into a chair at the Harrison County Jail Annex on November 22, 2018. As Collins is being moved to the wheelchair, video shows a man in a Harrison County deputy uniform, now identified as Deputy Charles “Chase” Dotson, punch Collins in the face and upper body, delivering eight punches.
Deputy Dotson is accused of attacking the man and has since resigned. A spokesman for Harrison County Sheriff’s Office says they suspended the deputy and began investigation with Texas Rangers several weeks before a complaint was filed.
Dotson was arrested on May 18 on a charge of official oppression.
Charles Collins said he didn’t know what he was being charged with.
“At that time, they didn’t even have a charge, couldn’t tell me what charge they had on me, if any. Before I could get my feet on the ground, they reached in and jerked me out of the vehicle and that’s when Dotson started beating,” Collins said.
The incident reportedly started with a domestic argument call earlier, where Collins had done some damage in his own home. He was later arrested.
Robert Davis, the attorney representing Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, said, “Mr. Collins was extremely aggressive, extremely belligerent, and in my opinion extremely intoxicated, and subsequently it was determined there was probable cause for arrest.”
Deputies Vences Cruz and Ryan Roop and jailers Caleb Oden and Clint Mathers are named defendants for “failure to take any measures to protect Mr. Collins from Deputy Dotson’s brutal attack.”
Collins is claiming violation of his Constitutional rights, including excessive force, unreasonable seizure without suspicion or probable cause; deprivation of due process; and delaying access to medical care for injuries received while in custody.
“A discussion or argument with Deputy Dotson on the way in about why he was being arrested. He was at his home, to no danger to anybody,” Josh Maness, Collins’ attorney says.
Attorney Davis says he has issues with the complaint.
“There’s a lot of information out there that is incorrect,” says Davis. “Probably half of the statements in their complaint are incorrect.”
The lawsuit says the incident happened in November 2018 when Collins was taken into custody after damaging a sliding door and “some belongings” at his residence in Waskom.
Dotson allegedly told Collins and his family that he was “going to arrest Mr. Collins so that he could “sleep it off” and that his girlfriend could bond him out the next day and pay a fine. Dotson then drove in excess of 100 miles per hour to the jail annex, the lawsuit says.
It was on the way to the jail that words were exchanged between Collins and Dotson, and then the altercation shown in the video happened.
Collins was restrained by handcuffs with his legs strapped to the wheelchair at the time he was struck, the lawsuit says.
Collins was treated at the hospital for his injuries.
All charges were dropped against Charles Collins. He is requesting a jury trial and monetary compensation.
The civil suit is expected to go to court around January 2020.