Woman says Southlake PD overstepped powers
Constance Westfall is a partner at the Strausberger and Price law firm, but now, after what happened at her Southlake home in January of last year, she has filed a wrongful arrest, excessive force lawsuit against the Southlake Police Department.
Police were called around 2 a.m. on Jan. 10, 2014 by Westfall's neighbor at 909 Independence Parkway when Westfall's son entered their home.
“My son had been a knucklehead and gone over there at two in the morning to get something out of his best friend’s room,” said Westfall.
The boys at the Westfall home had been smoking marijuana. Constance Westfall and her spouse, Monte, were asleep when police knocked on the door.
“She said, ‘Well we want you to go get him so we can talk to him,’” said Westfall. “So then, I went back to the bedroom to get my glasses ‘cause I’m legally blind without my glasses.”
“But you closed the door?” said FOX 4’s Shaun Rabb.
“Yes,” said Westfall.
“And did you tell the officers you were going to get glasses?” said Rabb.
“No,” said Westfall.
“But did you slam the door in the officer’s face?” said Rabb.
“No…no,” said Westfall.
Finding her glasses, Westfall went back outside. She says police were talking to the boys about marijuana, and she told her son to cooperate.
“Yes, I said, ‘Go get it,’” said Westfall. “I was angry; I was shocked.”
She says her son and husband, a retired pilot, went in the house, and she turned to go with them.
“One minute, I’m reaching for the door,” said Westfall. “I told ‘em I was gonna go into my house. Then the next thing you know, I’m on the ground and I feel like I’m naked from the waist down, and I’m struggling to cover myself, and I realize that I just can’t move because this officer is on top of me.”
Audio was given to FOX 4 by Westfall's attorney that plays part of the encounter that was recorded by police equipment off-camera that night.
“You're hurting me!” Westfall can be heard saying as she screams. “You are hurting me! Please stop!”
Another officer seemingly questions Westfall's hard takedown.
“I felt so bad ‘cause we were like, we were up in the corner,” said a female officer. “You were like, your whole body was on her, so it was like I couldn't really...”
“I honestly did that because...” said a male officer.
“I was afraid that you were gonna really hurt her,” said the female officer.
“I didn't,” said the male officer. “I was like, 75 percent, 50 percent, kind of just trying to hold her down.”
“He had no basis to put his hands on her body, much less to slam her to the ground, and so the false arrest precedes everything,” said Geoff Henley, Westfall’s attorney.
“I don’t know they live with what they do, because not only did that officer do what he did, but the other officers covered for him,” said Westfall.
“Hopefully your son and his friends have learned a valuable lesson here, too,” said Rabb.
“My son is so traumatized,” said Westfall. “He blamed himself, and I keep telling him it’s not his fault; it’s the police officer who assaulted me.”
Southlake police issued a brief statement on Tuesday, saying, “The Southlake Police Department has not been formerly served with the lawsuit by the plaintiff,” adding, “Due to the possibility of impending litigation, we are not at liberty to discuss the allegations at this time.”
The statement continued, “I will note however that this is the first time I have heard of Mrs. Westfall’s accusations.”
Westfall was charged with interfering with the duties of a public servant. That charge was eventually dismissed when Westfall went to court