We're Suing The City Of Progreso To Protect Texans from Policing For Profit
Most of us believe that law enforcement should not pull people over without reasonable suspicion. Unfortunately, some localities abuse their power, and use the police to profit off of their residents through excessive fines and fees.
This is exactly what happened to our client, Socrates Shawn, who was illegally stopped during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the City of Progreso. The officer claimed it was due to a “Shelter at Home” order even though it was over an hour before the curfew time. He was given the maximum fine, his car was impounded, and he was arrested and jailed. Socrates was later released, but this 18 year old should never have been stopped in the first place, let alone arrested and taken to jail. Two years later, his case remains pending today in Progreso.
Image of Progreso City Hall
The truth is, the pandemic was just an excuse for the City of Progreso to stop residents without reason, and what happened to Socrates happened to dozens of residents throughout this period. In one of the poorest cities in Texas, primarily Brown residents were illegally targeted and arrested for fines and fees. That is why we are suing the City of Progreso.
Today, we have our first hearing in court on this case. By standing up for Socrates and others, we intend to shine a spotlight on this abuse of power in Progreso and across our state. Too many police departments and local governments in Texas and across this country are policing for profit, pure and simple.
This exploitation existed before the pandemic, cities like Progreso used COVID as the excuse to double down on policing for profit, and we cannot let this continue.
If you or anyone you know has had similar experiences with law enforcement, please reach out to our Beyond Borders Hotline at 956-731-0232 or email BeyondBorders@texascivilrightsproject.org
Civil Rights Lawsuit Accuses Police of Unlawfully Arresting a High Schooler in the Early Days of the Pandemic published by Propublica and The Texas Tribune