Midlothian cops under fire
By 01/16/2003 00:00:00
Attorney to sue over possible illegal search and seizure, strip search
The Ellis County Press
MIDLOTHIAN - Efforts to combat this city's drug problem could result in an attorney filing two lawsuits against the police department and city.
Midlothian attorney Todd Phillippi said his client, Jackie Davis, and her teenage son and daughter, were pulled over on separate occasions in December, resulting in one police officer instructing the teens to walk home after being stopped near Sonic on Highway 287, roughly two miles away.
The siblings were with a group of friends when the officers pulled them over. Traffic warrants were found on the two, resulting in the MPD inpounding the vehicle, Phillippi said.
When Krista, 17, and Trey, 19, were walking towards their house, they reportedly witnessed Midlothian police officers inside their home and, according to Phillippi, searching to find drugs.
'They didn't find anything,' said Phillippi, who said he plans to file the first lawsuit on an illegal search and seizure.
The warrant the police obtained was for gambling equipment, Phillippi said, not illegal drugs.
'Totally wrong,' said Capt. Don Cole. 'Phillippi's story is filled with holes.'
Cole said the search of the home did in fact take place, but police officers obtained the proper warrants.
'I can't comment on any findings [in the house],' said Cole. 'But it wasn't for gambling equipment.'
Davis (the teens' mother), according to Phillippi, was stopped two weeks later on a routine traffic stop.
After police ran a background check and a vehicle search, Phillippi said they arrested Davis on a hot check warrant, eventually taking her to the Midlothian jail and strip searching her.
Phillippi said the strip search ordeal could bring forth a civil rights lawsuit.
'If they come in here [jail], they may be searched,' said Capt. Don Cole.
'Every prisoner is searched; not thoroughly searched, but they're searched. Different situations [arise] every time.'
Cole, who laughed at the allegations Phillippi brought forth, said he couldn't comment on the incident involving the strip search, but did say the investigation involving the search of the home was sent to the Ellis County District Attorney's office.
After the incident with Davis, Krista, who is an 'A, B' Honor Roll student at Midlot-hian High School, was arrested at school and charged for illegal drug possession.
However, according to Phillippi, then-Justice of the Peace Chad Adams said the MPD couldn't obtain a warrant on the original drug charges the officers brought forth in early December.
'There was no possession of drugs in the first place,' Phillippi said.
'It was a bogus warrant.'
Besides, Phillippi said, Krista is involved in many things at school, has a good attendance record, and makes good grades - hardly the typical drug dealer Midlothian police go after.
'She [Krista] was an over-achiever,' said former Midlothian High School student Julie Nitsch, 17.
'I have even met her mother. She seemed pretty strict on who Krista hung out with, and where she was.
'I had heard of him [Trey] being involved in some things, but not hard drugs or selling.
'I know that none of it would have been allowed at her mother's house.'
When made aware of the allegations, MPD Chief Steve Campbell said Phillippi was making 'ludicrous' charges and hasn't heard of any complaints from Davis or the teens.
'I'm not going to answer these questions,' Campbell said.
'I'm not aware of any incident and don't know what the heck you're talking about. It's absolutely ludicrous. I've had no word from these people about this.
'I'm concerned with everything in this department, but until someone informs me of what's going on, I'm not really that concerned, and am not if it's coming from the press.'
Phillippi said he still has to obtain proper documentation via Public Information Requests before he can file the first lawsuit.
'Phillippi is just around the corner,' Campbell said.
'If he has a problem, he can visit me - but I haven't heard anything about this.
'I didn't know Phillippi tries his cases in the press.'