Columnist Lisa Falkenberg had a story in Sunday’s Houston Chronicle about an incredulous lawsuit filed by a Harris County sheriff’s deputy. He is suing the family of an unhinged man he struggled with before shooting him dead.
For several days in December 2012, Kemal Yazar, 43, a rug importer and father of three young children, had been acting strangely, refusing eat or sleep, talking of apocalypse and of President Barack Obama being the anti-Christ. [Editor’s Note: He might not have been all that far off on the last one ... just kidding.]
Just before noon on December 30, Marlene Yazar called 9-1-1 for help from her mother’s house in Katy, Texas. She told the operator, “My husband is disconnected from reality. He’s just talking crazy things, like the world is going to end. And he’s been like this for two or three days now.” In answers to questions, Mrs. Yazar told the operator her husband had no weapons, but that he could become violent if he thought officers were coming to attack him.
A paramedic was the first to respond, but he made a hasty retreat when Kamal yelled and threw a bible at him. He and his partner called for sheriff’s deputies to come to the scene and warned the dispatcher they would be facing an “extremely violent patient.” Harris County Deputy Brady Pullen and another deputy arrived shortly thereafter. They entered the house and a struggle ensued during which the deputies used their Tasers on the unhinged man before shooting him several times. Kamal died later at a hospital.
Kamal Yazar was the sole support of his family. His wife was left without her husband and his children, ages 10, 6 and 2, lost their father.
Tor rub salt into the family’s wound, Pullen has now filed a lawsuit against Mrs. Yazar’s mother. The investigation report stated that Pullen suffered only “superficial wounds.” But in his lawsuit, as Falkenberg tells it, he claims “he suffered a broken nose, needed surgery that required him to miss work, and had a concussion which affected his memory of the events.” He accused family members of “negligence and recklessness” for not warning him that Kamal posed a “violent threat” and for not telling the 9-1-1 operator that he had been experimenting with DMT, a hallucinogen. (Marlene says she did not inform the operator about the DMT because it had been weeks since her husband last used it.)
Pullen is seeking at least $100,000 for medical expenses, mental anguish, pain and suffering and loss of past earning capacity. He is not suing Marlene Yazar. Instead he filed his lawsuit against Carmina Figueroa, Marlene’s mother, because the homeowner’s insurance policy for the house where the struggle took place was in Carmina’s name. Figueroa was away at work during the incident and did not know that anyone had placed a 9-1-1 call from her home.
This lawsuit is simply incredulous. Superficial wounds turned into a broken nose, concussion, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. Pullen is nothing more than a slimeball cop who dug up a lawyer to help him make an extra buck. I suppose Pullen and his attorney, a former Austin cop, never gave a thought to all the mental anguish Kamal Yazar’s family has been put through by the loss of a husband and father of three young children.
Pullen is a disgrace and embarrassment to the law enforcement profession. His ex-cop lawyer is disgusting and contemptible.
What’s not in dispute is that a citizen’s call for help ended tragically. Now the family’s loss has been made more tragic by a deputy’s greed. In this litigious culture, the definition of frivolity is ever expanding. We’re almost numb to callous money-grabs. But we expect more from people we hold up as heroes. We revere first responders because they risk their lives for ours, they run toward danger while we run away. True heroes, though, possess a virtue as vital as their bravery. It is called decency.
On two occasions, during my law enforcement career, I had the supreme shit kicked out of me by mentally deranged men. I too experienced pain and suffering, but it never ever entered my mind to take that pain and suffering out on the families of those nut cases. I considered it just part of the job, and that’s really what it is.