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James Glenn and Johnny Spradlin v. Llano County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO), Sheriff Bill Blackburn, Officer Jackson Idol, former Officer Steven Sifford, unknown Officer John Doe, and Llano County, Texas

[January 7, 2021] AUSTIN, TEXAS—Kaplan Law Firm recently filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of James ‘Mike’ Glenn and Johnny Spradlin alleging unlawful arrest and excessive use of force against the Llano County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO), Sheriff Bill Blackburn, Officer Jackson Idol, former Officer Steven Sifford, unknown Officer John Doe, and Llano County, Texas.

According to the suit, Plaintiff Spradlin was home alone on January 13, 2019 struggling with depression and called the national suicide prevention hotline for help. Instead of receiving the help he requested, LCSO deputies Steve Sifford and John Doe arrived for a “welfare check,” ordered him out of his home, and interrogated him on whether he was drinking, to which Spradlin replied “none of your [expletive] business.” The officers did not like Spradlin’s attitude, so they placed Spradlin under arrest. As alleged and captured on body cam footage, Officer Doe, from behind Spradlin, tackled Spradlin by his neck, slamming him into the ground. The officers then ‘drive stunned’ Spradlin on the ground with their tasers, which is when the taser is placed directly against the body and activated without the projectile. The officers handcuffed Spradlin, took him to jail, where he spent the night, and charged him with public intoxication, resisting arrest, and attempting to take a weapon from an officer. All charges were later dismissed. This incident was a result of LCSO’s “better to arrest than be sorry” policy of arresting residents who need mental health help.

In that same month, according to the suit, Plaintiff Glenn was rear-ended in Llano while riding as passenger. LCSO Deputy Jackson Idol arrived but did not like Glenn’s attitude, so instead of helping, he searched the truck to find something to charge Glenn with, and threatened to arrest and jail him for an open container. Idol ordered Glenn to put his hands behind his back. Glenn has a shoulder impairment from his time serving in the Army and explained that to Idol.  Glenn was unarmed and calm with his arms down and one wrist already in cuffs and secure, but Idol got angry about his attitude and wrapped his arm around Glenn’s neck in a chokehold to cut off his breathing and threw him violently to the ground. Glenn could not breathe.  Idol’s chokehold caused Glenn to briefly fall unconscious. When he came to and tried to stand up, Idol punched him repeatedly in the face, before taking him into custody. Officers took Glenn to the hospital to receive stitches for the eye injury Idol caused. The officers charged Glenn with resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer, and carrying an open container of alcohol; all charges were quickly dropped except the open container. Idol’s unprovoked attack against Glenn caused, among other things, a partial collapse of Glenn’s diaphragm and worsening of Glenn’s PTSD.

Regarding this lawsuit, Civil Rights Attorney Maff Caponi noted: “Spradlin called for mental health help, and instead LCSO deputies savagely tackled, tasered, and arrested him.  Glenn asked for patience with his service-related shoulder disability, and an LCSO deputy tackled, choked, and arrested him, collapsing his lung in the process. Neither encounter required force or arrest, and either encounter could have been fatal, due only to the reckless actions of LCSO deputies.  Mr. Glenn and Mr. Spradlin are brave to bring this case, and we intend to once again send a message to the people of Llano that constitutional civil rights abuses by law enforcement will no longer be tolerated.”

Since 2015, Kaplan Law Firm has represented individuals in civil rights matters, including a recent suit against the City of Llano and former Llano Police officers. Kaplan Law Firm is committed to protecting the civil rights of all individuals in Central Texas.

Filed Complaint

View the entire filed complaint.