Carlos Sanders was at home in Burleson with his young son on January 31 when there was a knock on the door. He opened it to find two cops standing there, holding a warrant.
Exactly what happened next depends on whom you ask. Sanders says in a federal lawsuit filed Monday that the two officers burst into his home, "electrocuted Sanders multiple times with a taser, threw him to the floor, and arrested him over the terrified screams of his young son who was begging the Officers not to hurt his daddy."
Godley Police Chief James Healy begs to differ. "No one burst into his house," he tells Unfair Park. His officers, identified in the lawsuit as Greg Sharp and Joseph Owens, were in Burleson to help with a Johnson County-wide warrant roundup. When they told Sanders he was under arrest for unresolved traffic violations out of Mansfield, he resisted.
Healy acknowledges that the officers used their Tasers, and he agrees with Sanders on another key point: The cops had the wrong Carlos Sanders.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
"Afterwards it was determined that although we had the right name and address as they were listed on the warrant, the date of birth was wrong," Healy says. The Carlos Sanders who was arrested was innocent.
They sorted this out while Sanders sat handcuffed in the back of a squad car outside his home. They ultimately let him go, but not before he experienced "shame, embarrassment, humiliation, mental anguish, pain and suffering," and an injured shoulder, all of which he would like Owens, Sharp, the city of Godley and the city of Mansfield to compensate him for.
Healy isn't very sympathetic to his cause.
"Had he given the officers probably five seconds of their time, he could have avoided this," he says. "So as far as I'm concerned the ball was in his court, not ours."