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Blotter: Denton man files federal lawsuit claiming police Taser projectile left him blind

A Denton man recently filed a federal lawsuit claiming a Denton police officer purposefully fired a Taser projectile toward his face in 2015, leaving him blind in his left eye.

Melvin Earl Williams Jr., December 2015
Melvin Earl Williams Jr., December 2015

In the lawsuit, which was filed in November in the Eastern District of Texas, Melvin Earl Williams Jr. specifically claims that Denton police Officers April McDonough and Keith Martin used excessive force when they contacted him during an investigation into a dispute in November 2015.

Through Dallas-based attorney Daryl Washington, Williams is suing the two officers, the city of Denton and Denton County.

"I know there are disputes between the parties on how it happened, but what we do know that's not in dispute is that Melvin no longer has vision in his left eye," Washington said.

The lawsuit says Williams and his girlfriend got into a heated argument at her house on Nov. 21, 2015. The woman eventually left the home and reported the incident to police, who met her back at the house so she could pick up some of her belongings, according to the document.

Williams claims the officers forced him to the ground at the home and used a Taser on him without cause. In the suit, Williams also claims his injuries weren't properly treated at the Denton County Jail.

County Judge Mary Horn said she could not comment on pending litigation.

County records show Williams has previously been arrested on numerous charges before and after the November 2015 incident, including multiple assault and evading arrest charges.

Deputy City Attorney Jerry Drake is representing the city and the two officers. He filed an answer to the initial complaint last week on behalf of the city and Martin. He said he plans to file an answer on McDonough's behalf this week.

Drake said it's too early to speak on the facts outlined in the complaint, but he said there are multiple inaccuracies.

"Nobody aimed a Taser at his eyeball and pulled the trigger," Drake said. "That's not the way it happened at all." 

Other reports 

800 block of West Collins Street — A 28-year-old man who was found carrying a stolen bicycle wheel on Tuesday said he needed it for transportation to find a job, according to a police report. 

Denton police were called to a theft in progress at about 4 p.m. when a caller saw a man sneak around a neighbor's apartment, take the wheel off the tire, then leave, the report said. 

Police later found the suspect at a nearby apartment complex rolling a bicycle with a flat tire. The man was also holding a spare wheel, and he later admitted it was stolen, according to the report.  

He was charged with theft of property under $2,500 with at least two previous convictions. He was also charged with an outstanding Arlington Police Department warrant for offensive physical contact against a family member. 

He was taken to Denton City Jail.  

2000 block of Golf Court — Denton police are looking for a 64-year-old man who was last seen Tuesday walking home from his dentist's office on Wind River Lane, according to a report. 

His wife called police at about 3 p.m. saying he still hadn't made it home, which is located about five miles away from Wind River Lane. 

Police said the man was last seen walking along the Interstate 35E southbound frontage road near Lillian Miller Parkway. Denton police sent out the man's description to local and regional authorities. 

Department spokesman Shane Kizer said the case had not been updated as of early Wednesday afternoon. 

2800 block of Interstate of South Interstate 35E — A 27-year-old man said his car was stolen Tuesday from a Red Lobster parking lot. Denton police took a report at about 10:30 p.m., and no arrests were made.


From 7 a.m. Tuesday to 7 a.m. Wednesday:

The Denton County Sheriff's Office handled 1,009 service and officer-initiated calls for the agencies it serves, and 47 people were booked into Denton County Jail. 

Denton police handled 124 calls for service and made seven arrests.

Denton firefighters handled 20 medical calls, one gas leak and two smoke alarms.