A North Texas man is suing Walmart for $5 million after he says he was tased and wrongly arrested after buying thousands of dollars' worth of Walmart gift cards.
The incident happened in a Garland Walmart in Sept. 2011, when Harold Burrowes bought $3,100 of the gift cards to buy diesel fuel. Burrowes owns a wrecker service, and rather than issuing credit cards, he uses Walmart gift cards so drivers can buy diesel for tow trucks.
Surveillance video shows Burrowes with gift cards at checkout. He says the cashier told him he could not buy gift cards with a gift card.
"I explained to her, ‘I'm not using gift card to purchase gift card; I have my American Express,'" said Burrowes.
In the video, a supervisor walks in to the picture, telling Burrowes the same thing. What Burrowes says can't be heard, but he says he explained what he was doing.
"I believe they thought all of the evidence points to the fact he was, they thought that Harold was using a stolen credit card," said Burrowes' attorney, Ben Martin.
In the video, the supervisor leaves and returns with a police officer working in the store through a company called Off-Duty Services. He stands behind Burrowes, and at one point, they exchange words.
Burrowes proceeds to buy the gift cards with his American Express and walks away. That's when he says the officer stopped him.
"He grabbed me on my shoulder," said Burrowes. "I said, ‘What is this for?' He said, ‘You're going to jail.' I say, ‘For what?' ‘For trespassing.' I said, ‘How am I going to be trespassing? I know I don't commit any crime,' and he walk in front of me, use a four-letter word and pulled his taser and hit me in my chest."
"Off-Duty believes that this incident occurred because of Mr. Burrowes' conduct. After he made the decision to arrest, Mr. Burrowes became aggressive toward the officer, resulting in the officer having to tase Mr. Burrowes to control the situation," an attorney for Off-Duty said in a statement.
Burrowes was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
"He had no responsibility whatsoever to stop for anybody at that store because he'd done nothing wrong," said Martin.
That resisting arrest charge was later dropped, and the district attorney said, "There was a lack of evidence showing that there was a reason to detain or arrest the defendant prior to the offense of resisting arrest."
In an email, a Walmart spokesperson said, "The safety and well-being of our customers and associates is always a top priority. Officer Sciculuna was employed by an independent contractor, Off-Duty Services. We expect our independent contractors to remain professional in dealing with customers at all times, and we regret that the situation with Mr. Burrowes escalated."
KDFW FOX 4
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