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Federal judge dismisses lawsuit filed by former Brown County inmate

Timothy Allen French

A federal judge dismissed a Lake Brownwood man’s lawsuit that correctional officers assaulted him while he was serving time in the Brown County Jail.

Timothy Allen French claimed that his rights were violated when Brown County employees assaulted him and then pushed him to the floor, causing his hip to break, according to court documents obtained from the United States District Court based in San Angelo.

However, Senior District Judge Sam Cummings ruled on Friday that five officers qualified for immunity protections as government officials and could not be sued for their actions.

According to court documents, French was arrested by a Brown County Sheriff’s Deputy in front of his Lake Brownwood home in June of 2015 for disorderly conduct.

French claimed that the Brown County Sheriff’s Department violated his rights under the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 14th Amendment, which protects Americans from being harmed while they are in protective custody.

"They all jumped me and took me to the ground, and put bruises all over my chest [and] my stomach," French told KTXS News on Wednesday.

Texas Ranger Jason Shea investigated French's complaints, yet did not find any evidence of criminal wrongdoing, according to court documents.

"He opened up the cell and he shoves me," French said of the correctional officer. "Then that’s when I fell down and that's when I broke my hip."

Shea reported that he reviewed the surveillance video and did see French get pushed from behind, but Shea said that French was intoxicated and being uncooperative.

The surveillance video also reportedly showed that French's pants were down moments before he fell, which he denied when KTXS News asked him about it.

"No, I didn't trip over my own pants," French said.

Brown County Sheriff Vance Hill told KTXS News that he's "just proud it's behind us and there is no negligence on our part."

A Brown County grand jury chose not to indict the correctional officer who shoved French to the ground for the assault charges.

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