Former Texas City officer faces federal civil rights lawsuit in viral Buc-ee’s traffic stop

Officer Scott Harrell was fired from the Texas City Police Department in September after an investigation of the April 2023 parking lot traffic stop.

Texas City police officer remains under investigation as new video shows moments before viral Buc-ee’s traffic stop (Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

TEXAS CITY, Texas – A fired Texas City police officer has been sued in federal court for alleged civil rights violations after he pulled a man over, put him in handcuffs, and threatened to take him to jail from a Buc-ee’s parking lot last April.

SEE ALSO: Texas City police officer pulled from streets, under investigation after viral traffic stop in Buc-ee’s parking lot

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Scott Harrell was fired in September when a new Texas City police chief took over. He’s accused of violating First and Fourth Amendment rights, according to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday.

”Our client was arrested for simply questioning Mr. Harrell’s illegal conduct in the performance of his public duties, which is his right to do. This lawsuit seeks to hold the former officer accountable for this arrest,” attorney Brandon Grable wrote in a statement to KPRC 2.

SEE ALSO: Texas City police officer remains under investigation as new video shows moments before viral Buc-ee’s traffic stop

His client, Christopher Shull, was on his way to fill up with gas on April 19, 2023, when Harrell initiated the traffic stop, which was captured on body camera video and surveillance cameras.

Harrell claimed Shull was cutting through parking spaces, driving too fast, and nearly causing a wreck in the parking lot of the Buc-ees.

”If this guy was willing to do what he did with me over running over empty spaces in a parking lot, can you imagine what he does to people when he when he has something on them? You know, his entire history needs to be checked,” Shull told KPRC 2 last year.

SEE ALSO: Texas City police officer terminated over viral Buc-ee’s traffic stop

The 23-minute traffic stop, which became testy between the two at times, ended up with Shull being handcuffed and put in the back of Harrell’s police car before another officer responded and provided Harrell with a book of tickets, The other officer wrote a citation instead.

According to Harrell’s narrative report, he detained Shull because he “would not cooperate.”

”You have forced my hand at this point,” Harrell could be heard saying on the video, “because if I don’t go and see this through to its conclusion, I know you’re going to go to the police department and file a complaint on me.”

The viral incident led to internal emails at the police department, reminding officers the City doesn’t make traffic stops for violations on private property, according to the lawsuit.

”We aim to send a clear message that abusing power and violating citizens’ rights will not be tolerated, and those responsible will be held accountable,” Grable wrote in the statement. “Our client has suffered not only the physical and emotional trauma of a false arrest but also the damage to his reputation and livelihood. This lawsuit is not just about seeking compensation for these damages but also about ensuring that such injustices do not happen to anyone else in the future. We stand firmly behind Mr. Shull in his pursuit of justice and will not rest until his rights are fully vindicated.”

Shull has since received notice that his ticket was dismissed.

”This guy is the kind of guy that you don’t want running around smacking the public over the head for no reason,” Shull said. “I don’t think that this guy should be a police officer. He’s willing to swear to things that are not true.”

About the Author

Bryce Newberry joined KPRC 2 in July 2022. He loves the thrill of breaking news and digging deep on a story that gets people talking.

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