City Admits ‘Excessive Force’ in Escarcega Civil Rights Lawsuit

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Jose Carlos Escarcega-Ysaias mug 720

The City of Lubbock on Monday filed documents in its own defense in federal court related to the December 3 lawsuit by Jose Carlos Escarcega-Ysaias. 

In July of 2015, officers arrested Escarcega at 19th Street and Iola Avenue.  He was accused of severely injuring Corporal Ryan Durrett.  During a foot pursuit, Escarcega got into Durrett’s patrol vehicle and, according to police, crashed the patrol unit with Durrett hanging on to the side of it. 

Police video showed other officers arriving after the crash.  Officer Michael Jordan kicked Escarcega to the face.  Officer Tye Edwards was also accused of excessive force in Escarcega’s lawsuit.

The City of Lubbock said in its response, “This Defendant admits that Officers Edwards and Jordan used force that was excessive according to City policy.”

The city’s response also said, “[The city] is not liable for any unconstitutional activity, if such occurred, in that [the city] did not authorize, participate, approve or acquiesce in any unconstitutional activity.”

The city also said in its written response, “[The city] affirmatively asserts that it has no unconstitutional policy or custom as it pertains to the arrest of persons and use of force during an arrest.”

The city blamed Escarcega for his own injuries – saying he was injured by his own actions.  The city asked that Escarcega not be awarded any money.

Officers Jordan and Edwards filed their written responses on Tuesday.  Jordan admits to kicking Escarcega in the face and hitting him with an ASP baton.  Edward admits to using force but said it was reasonable.

Both said they were acting to protect Durrett and the public.  Both said Escarcega was resisting arrest.   By contrast, Escarcega claimed he was not resisting at the time Jordan and Edwards arrived.

Both Escarcega and Durrett were hospitalized after the incident. 

While the city admitted to excessive force, both Jordan and Edwards specifically denied excessive force.  Both cited the Texas Penal Code as justification for the level of force they used.

In November, after an internal affairs investigation, LPD announced that Jordan was suspended for 30 days with no pay, and Edwards was suspended for 16 days with no pay.

In the suspension orders, both were accused of hitting Escarcega after he was already handcuffed.

While Escarcega is suing the city and two officers, Corporal Durrett is suing Escarcega in State District Court for $1 million or more.  The Durrett lawsuit, filed in mid-December, is still pending.

Escarcega was held Tuesday evening in the Lubbock County Detention Center on a $500,000 bond related to allegations that he assaulted Durrett. 

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