United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Brownsville Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Fernando Rodriguez, Jr., United States District Judge.
Ricardo Sauceda sued Defendants City of San Benito and
Officer Hector Lopez after he allegedly suffered injuries
when arrested in his front yard. Defendants move for summary
judgment as to all claims. (Motion, Doc. 42) For the
following reasons, the Court finds the Motion well taken.
2015, Marco Cortez called the San Benito Police Department to
report a complaint. (Cortez Dep., Doc. 42-2, 7:22–25)
Officer Hector Lopez received the dispatch call to respond to
the complaint, and arrived at the location about five minutes
later. (Lopez Dep., Doc. 55-2, 49:1–25 and
52:1–14) He was patrolling by himself at the time.
(Id. at 49:21–22)
Lopez arrived, Cortez explained that he was at his
grandfather’s home, attending a graduation party for
one of his sisters. (Cortez Dep., Doc. 42-2, 6:12–20)
Cortez had been outside awaiting his wife. (Id. at
12:9–13) Sauceda lived across the street and was in the
front yard of his own home; both men could see each other.
(Cortez Dep., Doc. 55-15, 12:9–25, 13:11– 20,
16:12–15, 124:7–23 and 156:2–10) After a
short while, Sauceda allegedly asked Cortez, “What are
you looking at?”, and made offensive gestures, such as
grabbing his crotch. (Cortez Dep., Doc. 42-2, 16:12–15,
24:15–20, 33:10–16 and 37:3–7) Cortez told
Lopez that he felt offended by Sauceda’s words and
conduct, and that he was concerned because children were
present, so he had called the police. (Id. at
23:2–5 and 25:5–11) He conveyed to Lopez that he
“wanted to file a report of Mr. Sauceda’s
behavior and his actions.” (Lopez Dep., Doc. 55-2,
this conversation with Cortez, Lopez crossed the street to
speak with Sauceda, who remained outside in his front yard.
(Cortez Dep., Doc. 42-2, 40:5–13; Lopez Dep., Doc.
55-2, 64:8–24) Sauceda’s home had a chain-link
fence with a closed entry. (Lopez Dep., Doc. 55-2,
72:9–25) Lopez stood on the sidewalk at the
fence’s closed entry, with Sauceda standing a few feet
away on the other side of the fence. (Id. at
had turned on his body camera to record his interaction with
Sauceda. (Lopez bodycam, Ex. C, Doc. 39) The video captured
their exchange, although the audio does not begin for about
30 seconds. (Id.) When the audio begins, Sauceda is
explaining a history of animosity between him and the
neighbor whose home Cortez was visiting. (Id. at
0:00:30–0:00:55) The Court finds, based on the video
evidence, that the two individuals made the following
statements and engaged in the indicated conduct:
Lopez: I need your driver license, sir.
Sauceda: What do you need my driver license for?
Lopez: Because I need to get your information.
Sauceda: No, no I’m not putting in a report.
Sauceda: I’m not putting in a report.
Lopez: I’m making a report.
Sauceda: For what? What’s the problem?
Lopez: I’m making a report.
Sauceda: What’s the problem?
Lopez: Here’s the thing, brother.
Sauceda: You got a camera. You think I’m doing
something. I’m not doing anything bad. I’m
minding my own business. Ya te dije lo que paso. You
don’t understand, then.
Lopez: No, this is the thing, I need your information right
Sauceda: I’m not giving you anything. (He turned
and began to walk toward his home, taking several
Lopez: Yes, you are, brother.
Sauceda: No, sir.
Lopez: (He began to try to open the gate.)
Sauceda: (He turned around and began walking back to the
gate, arrivingat the gate as he talked.)
[Unclear]. . .my dog. Hey, you’re not getting into ...