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DUI suspect knocked unconscious by officer

September 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A man pulled over for suspicion of DUI and slammed to the ground by a DPS trooper was knocked unconscious. Was this appropriate action or excessive force? It was a DUI traffic stop earlier this summer that got a bit ugly. The suspect was busted up when he was arrested, and while one former police officer sees a trooper doing his job, the defendant claims it went too far.

It was a June night when Dennis Perry saw the flashing lights in his rear view mirror.

"It was a state trooper," Perry said.

He was about a mile from home on 1960 near the Hardy Toll Road when he was ordered over for running a stop sign and suspected of driving while intoxicated.

Perry begins the sobriety tests, but about five minutes in, he refuses to continue. Then the two move out of view against the wall.

"Said I was resisting, and in fact, I was not resisting, and I was telling him that I was not resisting," Perry said.

The video shows Perry on the ground and the trooper calls for medical help. There's not much he remembers, but when he came to, he hardly recognized the man in the mirror.

"It was more than a body slam. It was face first on the ground and after that, I was out stone cold," Perry said.

Perry's attorneys, Gary Miller and Drew Prisner, have filed a complaint on behalf of their client with the department of public safety.

"There's a whole line of things that one can do as an officer to subdue a suspect," Prisner said. "You don't have to go from zero to 100, and that's what we see in this case."

A spokesperson for DPS released a brief statement saying:

"DPS received a complaint related to this traffic stop late last week. Until the DPS Office of Inspector General has a chance to review the case, it is not appropriate to comment further."

But former Houston police officer and security expert Rob Kimmons who has reviewed dozens of police tapes is commenting.

"You can't let someone like that, when you are out there by yourself at night, get the upper hand," Kimmons said. "I thought that he was patient, and then finally he had to take him down and cuff him."

He says in the video, he sees the actions of a trooper who was more than patient and a suspect who was uncooperative.

"I'm not saying it's not worth investigating. From the video, I just don't really see where I could criticize the officer and the actions that he took," Kimmons said.

Perry is still going through tests to check on any potential long-term effects from his head injuries. But he doesn't believe it was something he asked for.

"I honestly do not believe that I did anything to deserve anything like that," Perry said. "I don't think anybody does."

Perry's DUI case will be back in Harris County court next month. Prosecutors allege in court records he had a blood alcohol level of .08. We'll let you know when the Office of Inspector General has reviewed the stop.

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