City of Keller reaches settlement in police misconduct lawsuit

Keller will pay $5,000 of the $200,000 settlement, the rest of which will be covered by the Texas Municipal League. (Kira Lovell/Community Impact Newspaper)
Keller will pay $5,000 of the $200,000 settlement, the rest of which will be covered by the Texas Municipal League. (Kira Lovell/Community Impact Newspaper)

Keller will pay $5,000 of the $200,000 settlement, the rest of which will be covered by the Texas Municipal League. (Kira Lovell/Community Impact Newspaper)

The parties involved in a federal lawsuit filed by Marco Puente against two Keller police officers, Blake Shimanek and Ankit Tomer, reached a settlement agreement Jan. 22.

The city will pay a $5,000 deductible, and the rest of the $200,000 agreed upon in the settlement will be paid by the city’s liability insurance.

Puente’s attorneys filed the lawsuit in December after he was arrested and pepper-sprayed Aug. 15 while filming his son’s arrest for a traffic violation. Body camera and dash camera footage captured the incident.

“The videos form the narrative of this case, ... [and] that's what's really remarkable about this,” said attorney Scott Palmer, who represented Puente in the lawsuit. “It was just immediately apparent that this was wrong and unjustified and harsh.”

The charges against Puente of obstructing the roadway and interfering with police duties were dropped, and he was released from jail the same day. His son was also released after paying a fine for the traffic violation.


After an internal investigation by the Keller Police Department, Shimanek was demoted and taken off patrol duty.

The Texas Municipal League, which insures Keller and most Texas cities, provides liability insurance for law enforcement and public officials, as well as workers’ compensation, property insurance and more, according to the TML website.

The settlement will be finalized and processed by TML in about three weeks, according to Keller Public Information Officer Rachel Reynolds. The money will come from TML’s Intergovernmental Risk Pool, a collection of funds pooled by cities that are members of the TML. Keller’s deductible will come out of the city’s general fund.

Police Chief Brad Fortune will address Keller City Council about policy changes inspired by this incident and by community discussions that happened afterward. Though a date has not been set, Reynolds said that address will be part of Fortune’s annual report to council, which usually happens in February or March.

This case was resolved unusually quickly, which is a testament to how motivated the city was to rectify the situation, Palmer said.

“Most of these cases drag on for years,” he said. "And this one’s not going to have that trajectory. It’s over now.”
By Kira Lovell
Kira Lovell is a reporter covering Grapevine-Colleyville-Southlake and Keller-Roanoke-North Fort Worth. Before joining Community Impact, she majored in journalism at the University of Missouri and covered education and local arts for the Columbia Missourian and Vox Magazine.


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