A series of recent mistakes have left the Arlington and Dallas Police Departments blushing, yet the embarrassment is of their own doings. Meanwhile, two local residents were thrown in jail cells and falsely accused of crimes they did not commit.
In Dallas, a 55-year-old Oak Cliff woman was humiliated when policemen wrongfully arrested her in front of her neighbors and took her to jail. The woman suffers from disabilities resulting from a stroke that she survived several years ago; the police officer confused her speech problems and difficulty in walking as signs of intoxication.
This was no minor mistake, as the law-abiding woman spent 6 hours in custody. So far, the Dallas Police Department has come up short in remedying the error. In a laughably logical gesture, they have agreed to drop the mistaken intoxication charges. Unfortunately, this Dallas mishap pales in comparison to the blunder recently created by the Arlington Police.
Francisco Daniel Romero was pulled over March 1 for having an expired registration sticker on his vehicle. To his confusion, his minor infraction led to false accusations of murder and nine days in jail. Arlington law enforcement stated that Romero had a name quite similar to a murder suspect leading to the honest mistake. However, this similarity can’t simply ‘explain away’ the mistake.
The patrolmen that arrested Romero claimed that a drivers’ license number on the outstanding warrant matched Romero’s license number. Strangely, the man who is the actual murder suspect doesn’t have a drivers’ license number, as he is an alien. As the Arlington Police Department tries to reveal how this error happened, Romero is simply trying to get back to his normal, law-abiding life.
Unfortunately, most unlawful arrests don’t make the newspaper headlines. Law enforcement protocol is routinely ignored in many arrests in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area. If a wrongful arrest leads to a conviction, the error is more difficult to overturn. If you have been wrongfully accused of a crime, a criminal defense lawyer can help to clear your name and protect your rights.
Sources: DallasNews.com, “Dallas police chief regrets public intoxication arrest of stroke victim,” 3/4/2011. WFAA.com, “Arlington police probe wrongful arrest of man who spent a week in jail,” 3/10/2011.