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Federal Jury Awards Texas Man $169,128 in Excessive Force Claim Against Sheriff’s Deputy

by Christopher Zouki

Richard Uekert, who suffered a fractured nose and teeth from a San Patricio County sheriff’s deputy, was awarded $169,128 by a federal jury after it determined that the deputy used excessive force.

     On October 10, 2010, Uekert was arrested for public intoxication and taken to the San Patricio County Jail. Allegedly, when Uekert verbally protested his arrest, Deputies Michael Salazar and David Silva took him to a padded cell and threw him to the floor in such a way that his face struck an exposed board. According to Uekert, the incident resulted in a broken nose and two fractured teeth, which required surgical repair.

     Uekert filed a complaint in federal court against Salazar, Silva and San Patricio County, alleging excessive force and assault and battery. He argued that he presented no physical resistance or threat to anyone at the jail, and that the guards’ conduct was an established custom and policy. The defense contended that Uekert was resisting arrest and that any force used against him was justified.

     The jury found that Salazar, and not Silva, had used excessive force, but that there was no assault and battery. It awarded Uekert $169,128, which included medical costs, physical impairment, disfigurement, lost earnings and $88,000 in pain and suffering. Uekert was represented by Christopher J. Gale of Gale, Wilson & Sanchez, PLLC, San Antonio.

See: Uekert v. San Patricio County, et al., United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Corpus Christi Division, Case No. 2:11-cv-00222 (Aug. 22, 2012)

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Related legal case

Uekert v. San Patricio County, et al.