Woman suing Dallas County detention officer for excessive force - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Woman suing Dallas County detention officer for excessive force complaint

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Jail video from July 1, 2011 shows a Dallas County detention officer slam a woman to the ground. It happened while she was handcuffed, standing in the booking section of the Dallas County jail.

That woman, Rhonda Wells, is now suing the jailer, Rachel Graham. She claims Graham used excessive force on her.

Wells said she was knocked unconscious while being booked on a DWI charge.

In a Wednesday press conference, Wells said the incident still gives her issues.

"My whole life has changed. I have a hard time eating certain foods...a lot of pain in my teeth," Wells said. "My self esteem is gone. It's just horrible and I don't want this to happen to anyone else."

Graham pleaded guilty to official oppression in March and got probation.

The attorney for the victim said he wanted to wait until the criminal case was settled to release the video. He also needed to file it before the statute of limitations expired on the 2-year anniversary.

The night Wells was being booked, she was told to stand on the red line. She moved twice.

In the jail video, the third time Wells moves off the line, she appears to say something. Moments later, Graham starts searching her purse until she decides she's had enough of Wells and uses a wrestling move to sweep her legs.

With no way to break her fall, Wells face planted on the ground and stayed there unattended while Graham continued searching her purse.

Randy Isenberg is a former judge and criminal defense attorney. He represented Whitney Fox who was pulled over for DWI in 2009 and slammed into a concrete wall by a DPS trooper. The trooper was later found guilty of misdemeanor assault.

FOX4 showed Isenberg the video. He is not a part of the Wells vs. Graham civil suit or their criminal cases.

"Maybe if this woman wasn't handcuffed and she took a swing at the detention officer, maybe she'd be justified in doing what she did. But that's not what happened here at all," said Isenberg.

The lawsuit said Wells was knocked unconscious, had head and face trauma and suffered shattered and broken teeth.

In March, Graham pleaded guilty to official oppression, was sentenced to probation and lost her job. She is the only defendant in the civil suit the county left out.

"If the county says we've trained our officers not to behave this way, then you have to have a standard of gross negligent supervision to get over that hurdle," said Isenberg.

FOX4 attempted to contact Graham and the attorney who represented her in the criminal case, but got no response.

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