Fifth Circuit Court Denies Qualified Immunity To Houston Officers In Good Samaritan Case

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently denied qualified immunity to two Houston police officers who arrested a Good Samaritan, Austin Thompson Hughes, after he reported and detained a drunk driver. The decision, made on May 3, further defines the limits of police officers’ actions and the doctrine of qualified immunity.

Hughes had called 911 to report a pickup truck swerving erratically on a Houston highway. He then pulled behind the drunk driver, who had crashed, and effectuated a citizen’s arrest in accordance with Texas law. However, when the police officers arrived at the scene, they let the drunk driver go and arrested Hughes instead, charging him with a felony for impersonating a peace officer.

The officers based their actions on a statement given by the intoxicated driver, which contained several inconsistencies and contradictions. Despite Hughes providing evidence to support his account, including his Uber app screenshots and passenger testimonies, the officers proceeded with the arrest.

In his ruling, Senior Judge E. Grady Jolly emphasized the absurdity of the officers’ actions, stating that it was unclear which part of the case was more amazing: “(1) That officers refused to charge a severely intoxicated driver and instead brought felony charges against the Good Samaritan who intervened to protect Houstonians; or (2) that the City of Houston continues to defend its officers’ conduct.”

 

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  • DD
    May 28, 2024
    DAVID DUNCAN

    WHAT DOES ANY OF HOUSTON? THAT FIRED OVER 2000 COPS AND FIRE FIGHTERS PAY FOR LEGAL FEES OF ILLEGALS!! THE DEM ARE PUSHING TO HAVE NO CRIME FOR ANY THAT MIGHT VOTE FOR THEM!!

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