Man believed to be inmate files legal action after attack on K9 officer

It has been six months since Jeremie Cummins says he was misidentified as an escaped inmate and arrested by police from the University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston (UTMB).

Cummins is now seeking accountability for the officers he believes made a life-altering mistake and his attorney hopes this incident will spark real change.

“I went to the hospital because I thought the police were going to kill me. I was seeing things and I was very anxious,” Cummins explained.

Cummins checked into UTMB for mental health treatment. He left the building and entered the parking lot on May 8, 2022.

In surveillance footage from the scene, you can see him walking through the parking lot as officers stop a few yards behind. He says he noticed a female TDCJ officer talking to her partner who was in a police car. The UTMB officer got out of his car and ordered Cummins to come over to him.

“I said, ‘I’m not an inmate, I’m not a TDC inmate.’ Then they started telling me to get down. I said, ‘I’m not going to the floor,'” Cummins explained. “I don’t know who you think I am. I have mental issues but I’m not crazy and for them to say I was an inmate I knew if I had run away they could have shot me so I didn’t.

In security footage, you can see officers running after Cummins. One of the UTMB officers threw Cummins to the sidewalk, as his K-9 partner walked right past them.

“The dog came around and thought he had a target and grabbed me by the face and bit my ear,” he added. “When I tried to pull it out of my ear, it bit my hand. It was bleeding badly.

You can hear in the body camera footage someone asking an officer on his radio, “So he’s not a prisoner?” They make a count, we make them make a count to check that this is not the case but it is not the case.

According to Cummins’ attorney, Ruiz, “that’s when UTMB officers conspired with the Galveston District Attorney to lay false charges against Cummins for evading arrest.”

Cummins was charged with a felony of evading arrest. The charges against him were later dropped. He was then placed in the back of the police car.

“Because of the heat, the stress and what he was going through, he went into shock and had a fit,” explained his lawyer, Alberto Ruiz.

He was taken to the Galveston County Jail on $60,000 bond and placed on suicide watch. He spent the few days he was there naked.

Her mother, Jessie Cummins says she couldn’t even believe it when she heard about what had happened.

“I’m glad I can sit here next to my son because he’s a survivor as far as I’m concerned,” Jessie Cummins said. “It’s sad, it’s terrible, it’s hard. But it’s real, and that’s life.

So now Jeremie Cummins and his attorney are hoping this incident will cause local law enforcement and government officials to re-evaluate law enforcement training and how they handle mental health situations.

“We ask the police to do a better job and approach these people with caution in general and not draw any conclusions about their situation,” Ruiz said. “Until the local police department takes it seriously and starts creating mental health units to deal with these types of calls and verify, these types of issues will continue to occur.”

Cummins’ attorney now plans to file a federal lawsuit against officers involved with UTMB-Galveston, TDCJ and the University of Texas, claiming police brutality and excessive force caused his injuries and violated his rights civilians by wrongfully detaining him. without probable cause.

The victim filed a complaint with the TDCJ and the University of Texas System Police, alleging that the officers involved used excessive force and improperly arrested him.

A TDCJ spokesperson released a statement that reads: “On May 8, 2022, TDCJ Correctional Officers noticed a non-TDCJ patient from UTMB-Galveston walking suspiciously towards the jail side of the ‘hospital. The UTMB police were notified and reacted. “

The UTMB-Galveston Police Department had no comment.

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