Every once in a while, amid the stacks of semi-literate, pro se habeas corpus petitions, trademark suits and product liability complaints, there comes a federal filing so disturbing, so completely awful, that it leaves the reader with nothing but questions.
This week, it's Danny Cantu v. The City of Dallas and a whole passel of named and unnamed police officers. 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."
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Cantu was arrested but never charged with a crime. Indeed, a search of county court records yielded no charges under that name. Dallas Police spokesman Kevin Janse told Unfair Park neither the raid nor the name rang a bell. Nobody from the City Attorney's office was available to comment. None of Cantu's attorneys -- there are three -- responded to many messages left for comment. And nobody answered calls placed to a number listed under Cantu's name.
He's seeking unspecified damages to compensate him for his medical bills, mental anguish and disfigurement, among other things
Now for a little unsubstantiated speculation: If the allegations in the lawsuit are true, did police hit the wrong address? Or did they hit the right address on wrong information?
If the parties don't settle this quietly and if we hear back from Cantu or his attorneys, we'll update accordingly.