The lawsuit alleges that father and son Marco and Dillon Puente were subject to civil rights violations by then-Sergeant Blake Shimanek and Officer Ankit Tomer.
Shimanek pulled over Dillon Puente for making a wide right turn Aug. 15, 2020, according to a statement filed by Shimanek. When Marco Puente arrived, Shimanek ordered him to move his car; Puente complied and started to film the incident. Dash cam and body cam footage provided by the city show that Shimanek and Tomer placed Marco Puente under arrest and that Shimanek pepper-sprayed Puente twice.
Marco and Dillon Puente were both taken to jail. The charges against Marco Puente were dropped, and Dillon Puente was released after paying a fine for the wide right turn.
For the improper arrest of Marco Puente, Shimanek was demoted from sergeant to officer, with the opportunity to reapply for his old position after a year.
“Sergeants are, at times, the most senior ranking police department representative in the city,” Fortune said in a Sept. 8 memo regarding the allegations of misconduct against Shimanek. “They have to be conservative, while maintaining a broader perspective, with a voice of calm and clarity when making decisions which serve the best interest of the department and city. I have to be able to depend on that.”
Fortune was appointed chief by the city in March 2020. He and City Attorney Stanton Lowry briefed council privately about the incident Dec. 29, and Fortune will share his decision-making process publicly during the Jan. 5 meeting.
Keller City Council is encouraging public comments during the Persons to be Heard portion of the Jan. 5 meeting or through a virtual comment card, which will close at 7 p.m. that evening.
“Keller PD is a state recognized and nationally accredited department, and those designations come with extensive protocols and policies," Mayor Armin Mizani said in a Dec. 23 statement. "Police encounters like these, however, remind us that as a city and as a department, we must continually work to strengthen our standards."