The resignation of Officer Blake Shimanek came 10 days after the city announced the lawsuit over an arrest last year would be settled out of court.
“While this chapter is coming to a close, the conversations and policy changes that it has inspired will continue to move us forward as a department, a city and a community,” Mayor Armin Mizani said as part of the city’s statement. “This Council and our Police Department led by Chief [Brad] Fortune remain committed to ensuring encounters like these never happen again.”
The lawsuit filed by Marco Puente alleged Shimanek and fellow Officer Ankit Tomer unlawfully arrested him and used excessive force Aug. 15 while Puente tried to film his son being arrested on a traffic violation. Charges against Puente were dropped the same day, and Shimanek, then a sergeant and the senior officer on the scene, was demoted after an internal investigation.
Mizani and Keller City Council were briefed about the misconduct after the lawsuit was filed in December, and video footage of the incident and records of the investigation were released at that time along with a statement from Mizani. Fortune addressed the incident and his department’s response at a City Council meeting Jan. 5. He also hosted two town hall meetings to hear feedback from Keller residents about the department’s role in its community.
Fortune will address a City Council meeting again in March, Keller Public Information Officer Rachel Reynolds said.
The lawsuit, which named Shimanek and Tomer as individuals, was settled for $200,000, $5,000 of which is paid by the city. The rest is to be paid through Keller’s liability insurance.
“[Puente] was basically, you know, helpless in the back of a police car in the hot Texas heat with pepper spray in his eyes, nose and throat, suffering for almost 20 minutes,” said Scott Palmer, the attorney who represented Puente in the case. “The way I look at it, they paid him $10,000 a minute for his suffering.”