CORPUS CHRISTI (CN) - A Texas police officer choked a boy until he passed out - because the boy threw milk in his school's cafeteria, the boy's mother claims in Federal Court.
Gracie Pope sued the city of Robstown, its police officer Ernie Martinez and the Robstown Independent School District, on behalf of her son, M.F.
Robstown, pop. 12,836, a suburb of Corpus Christi, is the purported birthplace of Texas Hold 'em poker.
Pope claims in her lawsuit that the assistant principal of Ortiz Intermediate School called her on Feb. 9, 2012 to tell her M.F. had been suspended for throwing milk in the cafeteria.
"Later that evening when M.F. came home from school, Ms. Pope and M.F.'s step-father began talking to M.F. regarding his punishment for what happened at school when M.F. told Ms. Pope that defendant Martinez had put him in a choke hold until he passed out," the complaint states.
The chokehold bruised M.F.'s neck. Today, nearly two years later, his mother says, he "continues to have complaints of his neck hurting and suffers pain caused by defendant Martinez's abusive treatment of him."
Pope says she and her husband then met with the school superintendent, who suspended Martinez pending an investigation.
Pope and M.F. seek punitive damages for civil rights violations, excessive force, infliction of emotional distress and assault.
They claim Martinez is not entitled to a defense of "good faith immunity" because he "illegally assaulted" M.F. when the boy posed no threat.
They are represented by Christopher Gale with Gale, Wilson and Sanchez of San Antonio.
The Robstown Police Department did not respond to a phone message and email seeking comment.