Frisco PD Will Only Give Car Back to Family It May Have Wrongly Accused If They Promise Not To Sue

PallaviDhawan.jpg
Pallavi Dhawan
Pallavi Dhawan is still facing charges in the death of her 10-year-old son, Arnav, even though the final autopsy report ruled that "natural disease is most likely." It's for that and other reasons that the Frisco Police Department seems to have jumped the gun when it held a press conference accusing Pallavi of murder, as Jim Schutze detailed in a story last month.

At the time of Pallavi's arrest, the Frisco PD impounded the family vehicle with the medical records in the trunk. Dhawan family attorney David Finn fought the police in a bitter court battle before finally getting them back. "I asked these sons of bitches for a copy of these fucking medical records, like constantly, and they kept saying basically, 'Pound sand,' so I had to file a fucking emergency writ with Judge Scott Becker up in McKinney to get a copy," the lawyer told Schutze. (He is our new favorite lawyer.)

Now that Finn has the records, he's moved on to trying to get the family's car returned. In a note this week, Frisco Deputy Chief David Shilson said sure, Pallavi and her husband Sumeet can get their car back. That is, they can get it back if they agree to some "stipulations." Among those stipulations: the department can't be held liable if the car is damaged. Finn takes this to mean that the department damaged the car.

"The answer is a resounding 'no thanks,'" he wrote in an email on Thursday to Frisco Sergeant Nelson Walter. "We will not accept a vehicle that has been damaged by your Department and whose safety is questionable."

The department's offer came after Finn sent another terse email to the police on Monday, accusing the PD of continuing to drag its feet in the investigation and release of evidence. "Despite repeated requests, the Frisco Police Department continues to retain the vehicle and the family's personal effects," he wrote.

Deputy Chief Shilson responded to him on Wednesday detailing what sounded like a potentially nice compromise. "To avoid any further burden to the family, we are willing to consider the release of the vehicle from evidence before the filing of the case to the Collin County District Attorney," Shilson wrote, before hinting of the conditions that would come with that early release: "Therefore, we are forwarding stipulation documents for you to consider."

Under those stipulations, the Dhawans are asked to waive "any and all claims" against anyone who works for Frisco relating to the vehicle and its hard drive, "including, but not limited to liability, damages, property damages, legal fees, and/or costs caused by or related to any negligent or intentional act of any release." Another key stipulation says that data from the car will definitely be used as evidence, and Finn must agree to not raise any objections to that evidence being admitted in the trial, whatever that evidence may be.

(Finn responds that he's not waiving his right to object to that evidence before even seeing what that evidence is).

The car, valued at $50,000, is the family's only vehicle, and "based on the proposed stipulation, it is clear that the Frisco Police Department Ruined the vehicle," Finn wrote in a motion he filed this week Collin County court. A hearing on the car is scheduled for this Wednesday.

Frisco PD spokesman Brad Merritt won't comment on whether or not the vehicle is in fact damaged. In a statement, he says that the department had been holding onto the car because the investigation is still ongoing. The proposed agreement, he explains, is simply a way for the Dhawans to get their car back early, "in an effort to balance the needs of the criminal investigation with the family's personal needs."

So, are these stipulations normal? When we described them over the phone to Texas Civil Rights Project's staff attorney Brian McGiverin, he laughed.

"That stipulation sounds unusual to me and pretty coercive given the circumstances," he says. "If there's any damage done, it sounds like it's already been done, so why would they be asking to sign away liability?"

Finn's correspondence with the police is attached in his court motion below:

Pallavi Dhawan Writ and LTR (1)


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25 comments
judgefinn
judgefinn

I apologize for the profanity. I'll be more careful next time Jim calls. My bad.

physics2010
physics2010

Offering to return the car only if they agree to stipulations is called extortion. Chalk up another charge against City of Frisco.

xdarkridex
xdarkridex

Between this story and the sign guy they persecuted, add Frisco to a list of places I'll never live.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

DALLAS OBSERVER:  PLEASE STAY ON TOP OF THIS STORY AND UPDATE IT.  


These thugs in the Frisco Police Department are a disgrace to their badges and to law enforcement. 


That none of them recognize what they are doing to be wrong and immoral is of great concern.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Curious about the entry "relating to the vehicle and its hard drive"?



noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

Frisco's Chief Bruce (who sounds like the head of an Indian tribe in a western comedy) says the PD Mission Statement is: 


"While promoting individual responsibility and community commitment, the Frisco Police Department will work together in a spirit that resolves problems, reduces crime and the fear of crime, and provides a safe environment for everyone."

I apparently missed the part on the PD's web site where they said THEY weren't subject to their standards of individual responsibility, and would go out of their way to cover their mistakes at the expense of the public.  

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

This is B.S.   The Frisco PD works for the people of Frisco.  If they made a serious mistake, they need to be accountable and responsible.  That's what they expect of citizens, and what citizens have every right to expect from sworn police officers working for them. 


David Finn is NOT some amateur lawyer with which to trifle.  I expect he will SUE -- and win - tens of thousands of dollars for this family, including their complete car rental costs while their vehicle is wrongly impounded, any insurance costs and deductibles for the period Frisco has wrongly confiscated the car, mental anguish and suffering at not having their own car, complete recompense for damages to the car, fingerprinting of the car to determine if Frisco wrongly searched the car, wear on tires for being parked instead of driven, etc. etc.  


I thought the Frisco PD was smarter than this.  Apparently not,  Frisco's elected officials probably need to consider a change of management of their PD.  (I understand Doug Kowalski from McKinney is available.  He's fantastic!) and doesn't play these kinds of power games with citizens that have been wronged by the PD.

mr.evoix
mr.evoix

Extortion and blackmail.  I see some people that need to be in the unemployment line.  ASAP

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

On the face of it, this is bald extortion.

mark289138
mark289138

The Chief and the Mayor and the City Council are all A-Holes----

sherilenoir
sherilenoir

Police should be responsible for the things they do, just like everyone else if not MORESO than everyone else.

I hate seeing "the law" ruin an entire family-multiple lives- because..rules.


So when they can't pay rent because of jobs they can't get to over this car business-the cops will be there again to help evict, and when they get sick, have no place to live the cops will be there again to put them in jail for vagrancy.

Where does the serve and protect part come in?

biker1tx
biker1tx

Sue the city, file official oppression against all the officers involved and civil rights violations in federal court !!!

annff69
annff69

Frisco PD, we make bigger fools of ourselves by 9 am than most drunks do on a 3-day bender.








TexMarine
TexMarine

you'd think that the city attorney or someone would have the brains to realize that they better play nice or they're going to lose millions of taxpayers money...oh wait, its Frisco, they'll just add to the deficit.

lisareneemerito
lisareneemerito

Frisco, you look like a fool.  These people have suffered enough.  For Shame.


ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

Sounds like official oppression, extortion.

Legalized scummery.

wcvemail
wcvemail

That poor family. Ironically, I'm sure they thought they were leaving behind the chaos and dysfunction of the moribund Indian justice system, and that surely a relatively well-to-do municipality such as Frisco would do them right if the need ever arose. Instead, they're being consumed by the posturing, dysfunctional Frisco P.D. There's some seriously delusional group-think and incestuous CYA at FPD.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas

@Sotiredofitall The last hard drive I had associated with a car was a classic Model T used for a parade that had no reverse......not optimal for parking.

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