Texas city settles lawsuit brought by man who was pepper-sprayed while recording son's traffic stop

A Texas city has settled a lawsuit brought by a man who was pepper-sprayed while recording his son’s traffic stop.

Officials in Keller agreed to the $200,000 settlement with Marco Puente, who sued two local police officers in federal court after he was pepper-sprayed and arrested while videotaping an officer who pulled over his son, Puente’s attorneys confirmed to The Hill.

Body camera footage from the incident last August shows Sgt. Blake Shimanek pulling over Puente’s son, Dillon Puente, for making a wide right turn, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported. Marco Puente reportedly arrived at the scene in another vehicle and started filming from across the street.

Shimanek then ordered Ankit Tomer, another officer, to arrest Marco Puente and pepper-spray him. Both the father and son were taken to jail, but the charges against them were later dropped and Shimanek was demoted, according to the news outlet.

The suit filed in Texas federal court last month accused the officers of unlawfully arresting Marco Puente and using excessive force. The suit also alleged that Shimanek racially profiled Dillon Puente, who is Hispanic, for what the officer wrongfully believed to be a narcotics crime.

The New York Times noted that Keller's population is 87 percent white.

In a statement, Puente’s attorneys, Scott Palmer and James Roberts, said the settlement will “justly compensate both Dillon and Marco for the damages” caused by the officers.

They also said the father and son have “accomplished their goal of demanding accountability from law enforcement by placing a spotlight on this disturbing display of police misconduct, as it received nationwide attention and reaffirmed that this behavior will not be tolerated in communities like Keller.”

Keller officials said in a separate statement that it will pay a $5,000 deductible in the settlement, with the rest being covered by an insurance policy.

Keller's police chief will also share information with the City Council on policy changes and initiatives arising from the incident, as well as internal evaluations from the case.

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