Reginald Deon Davis is filing a federal lawsuit against the city of Galveston, Texas after he was brutally beaten and held underwater by local police. According to court documents, the incident occurred this past March 19th while he was sleeping in his car near the seawall. Davis reports that he was exhausted after attending a friend’s birthday party and then staying up late to study for a college exam the next day. When Davis realized he was too tired to drive all the way home, he pulled over to rest so that he wouldn’t pose a danger to other drivers. He notified his wife by phone and dozed off, unaware that sleeping in a car by the seawall was illegal without a special permit.
At 1:45am, Davis was awakened by officer Jose Santos Jr, who asked him to exit the vehicle and place his hands on the police car. Davis instead ran to the beach, where he was tasered in the back and tackled by officer Santos into the water. Police dashcam video recorded the incident which showed Davis attempting to resist his head being held underwater while being beaten and kicked severely by officers who arrived on the scene.
‘Mr. Davis does not appear to resist until it becomes clear that he is in fear of drowning. In fact, during this entire incident, Mr. Davis can be heard yelling, “I can’t breathe” and “You’re trying to drown me,”’ the suit goes on to say. Santos, Chapman and three other officers who arrived on the scene allegedly continued beating the suspect as he lay in the surf and ‘forcibly submerged’ his head in the tide while kicking him. In response to the lawsuit seeking damages to be determined by a jury, Galveston Police Chef Henry Porretto told the Houston Chronicle that the plaintiff has a criminal history that includes two drug convictions, and he was possibly facing a third one when he was apprehended by police in March. According to Porretto, the 34-year-old suspect was seen by officers grabbing something from the seat of his car and stuffing the item into his pocket before attempting to flee the responding officers. An internal investigation into allegations of police brutally determined that the Galveston officers used necessary force during Davis’ arrest, Porretto said.