In Houston, Texas, Harris County sheriff’s deputies are facing a lawsuit by Christopher Johnson, who claims that guards choked him while taking his mugshot because he would not stop smiling.
 
Johnson was in police custody for alleged drunk driving and was facing a camera when officers put their hands around his neck in 2015.
 
The Harris County Sheriff's deputies are accused of berating and ridiculing Johnson before allegedly choking him for approximately 30 seconds. The alleged assault is said to have occurred on July 25 of last year. Until that night, according to his lawyers, Johnson had never been convicted of anything more serious than a traffic citation. Johnson’s attorney claims that Johnson suffered “significant pain and mental anguish from the alleged event.”
 
Court documents said that one of the deputies insisted during the photo session: "Take the picture right," and "Man, stop smiling!" 
 
"This is how I always take my pictures," Johnson allegedly replied. 
 
A second officer wearing gloves, allegedly placed hand around Johnson’s neck while the photo was taken. One of the officers accused in the lawsuit noted in his report about the incident that Johnson had been "uncooperative." Johnson denies the charge.
 
Johnson’s lawyers are seeking both compensatory and punitive damages, while allegedly that the arresting officers violated his civil rights. The Harris County Sheriff's Office is aware of the lawsuit.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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