Dallas Will Pay $1.1 Million to Man Jailed for 15 Months After Police Beating

Categories: Legal Battles

RobertBernardJones.JPG
Ronald Bernard Jones
The way he described it, Dallas police officer Matthew Antkowiak could have very easily been killed on the night of December 18, 2009.

It started just before midnight, when the officer spotted 62-year-old Ronald Bernard Jones in the 300 block of Reunion Boulevard. Jones "appeared to be intoxicated or high on some unknown substance" and was "walking in the middle of the street and throwing beer cans in the air."

Rather than comply with Antkowiak's order to step to the front of his parked squad car, Jones threw an open can of beer at the cop then, when Antkowiak moved to arrest him, grabbed the officer by the throat, "choking him and lifting him off the ground."

The punches Antkowiak delivered to Jones' face (thus explaining the swollen-shut left eye in the mug shot) failed to loosen his attacker's grip but succeeded in provoking Jones to kick him in the testicles, hard. Finally, Antkowiak was able to subdue Jones by kicking his feet out from under him and securing him with handcuffs.

That's how Antkowiak described it in his official police report, anyway. The problem for Antkowiak, and now the city of Dallas, is that this account doesn't quite match what's shown on dash-cam video obtained by WFAA.

This shows Ankowiak as the aggressor, taking Jones to the ground, hitting him and appearing to choke him. The groin-kick never seems to have happened. The video also doesn't show officers discovering a crack pipe on Jones; according to defense attorney Don Tittle, they turned the dash cam off. (Correction: Tuttle represented Jones in the lawsuit. Matthew Arnold defended him in the criminal trial.)

Jones is not a saint. He has a couple of drug convictions on his record, both more than two decades old, and he pleaded guilty to a charge of resisting arrest in 2005. Prosecutors also saw fit to mention that, during the 15 months he spent in jail on charges of attacking Antkowiak and possessing the crack pipe, he was caught masturbating in his cell and transferred for "storing food and causing bugs."

In this case, though, the evidence wasn't there to convict Jones of a crime. The evidence against Antkowiak, by contrast, while not enough for a Dallas PD review to conclude that he used excessive force, was sufficiently damning to lead to Antkowiak's resignation and the Dallas City Council's decision yesterday to settle Jones' lawsuit for $1.1 million.

Chief David Brown told The Dallas Morning News that the case isn't as bad as it appears -- Jones was "really super strong" and sent Antkowiak to the hospital with a concussion -- but acknowledged that the city's case wouldn't get much sympathy before a jury.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
29 comments
fitzwilly1967
fitzwilly1967

I think he should have been awarded $100 Million.  And all settlement monies should be taken out of those piggy cops' retirement accounts & illegal drug revenue...

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Cops = Violent Neanderthal Criminal Scum with Badges and Guns.



ltshepherd
ltshepherd

ALL public servants, especially law enforcement, should be bonded and insured, the policy paid for out of their OWN pockets. If no insurance company is willing to take on that risk, than these “high risk” people will be unable to gain employment in these fields. 


If the bureaucracy chooses to hire them without such insurance, then at such time that they abrogate the parameters of their position and are sued by their victims, the already overburdened taxpayer should NEVER be liable for their unlawful conduct and actions.

wcvemail
wcvemail

Police chief said this wino is "really super strong", with a straight face?!

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

If cops like this didn't go from zero to asshole in .2 seconds, perhaps they could avoid having to violently take someone down. Why did this guy need to be arrested in the first place -- because he was littering? Bad judgment seems to be rife among DPD's patrol units. Perhaps they need some remedial "judicious use of force" training.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

The settlement should be coming from the police pension fund not the taxpayers.

boogerleo
boogerleo

We're giving this druggie deadbeat $1.1MM??? He would not earn even the $.1M over his lifetime and this is a waste of money. it will be gone quickly and he will be back where he was before! The police were stupid but not to the tune of that kind of settlement!

fitzwilly1967
fitzwilly1967

@ltshepherd Very good idea.  So if these yo-yo, steroid-driven cops cannot be bonded/insured due to bad risk, they would become unemployable in Law Enforcement and lose their badges?


That's probably better than my idea of just enlisting a gang of thugs, hunting this piece of human $h!t down and slamming him head-first into the pavement a few hundred times..

fitzwilly1967
fitzwilly1967

@wcvemail Yep, all these compromised, malnourished & weak homeless men suddenly become the Incredible Hulk when confronting the Police.

lebowski300
lebowski300

@boogerleo  "druggie deadbeat"? Racist much? How much is a year of your life worth, being falsely imprisoned?

molliegirls
molliegirls

@boogerleo  I bet his life is worth a million to his mother, just the same as yours would be to your mother.

ruthellaowens
ruthellaowens

@boogerleoYou are unbelievable! The worth of a person is not their earning power. He had done nothing to warrant a stop by the police. I wonder if anyone ever showed up to break up the fight between two WHITE men. Attitudes like yours are the impetus for abuse of homeless and prostitutes and otherwise helpless individuals.


It seems all the sympathy went for the high-priced attorney who committed suicide by police with his 11 year old daughter in harms way. He was full of everything. This article does not say this man was high. You had better believe it would have come out. 

I am disappointed in Chief Brown, but it is not my first time in that condition. I live two doors down from the serial aggravated rapist, Van Dixson. Months went by without women knowing of the attacks. He arrested a man who had nothing to do with the crimes. And was loathe to let him go. Liability and stupidity and all that, I guess.


Dallas cannot keep shelling out cash like this. Although the abuse is nationwide, see Albuquerque's two shootings in ten days, the camper being the latest.

j_laughlin
j_laughlin

A couple of convictions over 20 years old hardly qualifies him as a 'druggie deadbeat.'  And even if he was, it hardly justifies the use of unnecessary force against him.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@boogerloo

I'd gladly take a beating this mild for 1 million bucks

Lorlee
Lorlee

@boogerleo  Even druggie deadbeats don't deserve to be beaten up by the cops.  Watch the tape.  Or might this be simply another of your racist comments.  

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@phelps

No shaved head! Amazing.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@bvckvs @Sharon_Moreanus  You mean those cops who managed to go their entire career either not once realizing that this asshole was a bad cop OR (almost certainly) knew what he was and didn't report him anyways?


You need to understand this -- there are no good cops anymore.  None.  There are only two groups -- those who routinely abuse and violate the rights of the citizenry, and those who cover up for the first group.  There's no middle ground.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@bvckvs

OTOH, it might spur cops to,"police their own".

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  And our dumbshit police would gladly give it to you, until it starts coming out of their pockets.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@TheRuddSki  As long as that doesn't mean someone's getting beaten with a pillowcase full of oranges in the locker room.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...