Criminal trial set for Beaumont man Christopher Shaw, who says officer paralyzed him


A Beaumont man will soon be on trial for allegedly assaulting the arresting officer and seriously injuring him.

Christopher Shaw’s trial is scheduled for September 12 in 252 Jefferson County.n/a District Court of Justice. Shaw’s new criminal defense attorney, Preston Strickland, and state’s attorney, Luke Nichols, are expected to let Judge Raquel West know if they are ready.

The lawsuit is subject to change depending on other cases that may be on tap.

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The Beaumont police officer who made the arrest says in a probable cause affidavit that police received a call for a suspicious person at 4:02 p.m. from the 1700 block of Roberts Avenue in Beaumont, saying that a person allegedly jumped into a US Postal Service truck.

Beaumont Police Office. JT Gillen said in court papers he arrived at 4:05 p.m. and saw a man standing in the middle of the same street with clothing, his wallet and contents, including a driver’s license identifying him as Christopher Shaw, 43 years. , scattered in the intersection.

The officer claimed that Shaw appeared drunk and refused to follow instructions.

“Shaw exhibited an unsteady balance as I walked on the pavement and waved his arms, refusing to follow basic verbal commands,” the probable cause affidavit said. “Shaw displayed slurred speech when he responded and displayed glassy red eyes. Due to his strong signs of intoxication, I thought Shaw was intoxicated with an unknown substance or other dangerous drug, to the point that he did not fully utilize his mental and physical faculties and posed a danger to himself and others.

Court documents said Shaw had no responsible party to release and if he was left unattended, police believed he would continue to walk down the road where he could be hit by a vehicle. He was arrested for the offense of public drunkenness.

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As the criminal charge worked its way through the system, Shaw sued the officer involved, the city of Beaumont, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the county jail’s medical contractor, CorrHealth LLC. in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of the Beaumont Division of Texas.

He claims that Shaw needed medical assistance when he was arrested while standing in the middle of the road near Roberts Avenue and Avenue D.

“Although Mr. Shaw had a speech impediment at the time, he was able to provide identification and explain who he was and why he needed medical assistance,” the lawsuit complaint reads.

However, criminal court documents indicate that Shaw was medically cleared after his arrest for jail by Baptist Hospital. Then the police arrived at the Jefferson County Jail.

Court documents indicate that Shaw attempted to escape police custody by walking away from an officer while he was removed from the patrol unit.

“Shaw was immediately restrained, as he knocked us down, where I grazed both elbows causing them to bleed,” the probable cause document states.

The civil lawsuit claims Shaw could “stand, stand and walk unaided” when he arrived at the jail with his hands cuffed behind his back and limited ability to move.

He states before entering the jail that Shaw “turned his body slightly” and suggests that the officer then knocked the two down before they entered the jail, officially known as Jefferson County Correctional Facility. The lawsuit said Shaw still had “full functional use of all of his extremities” when he entered prison.

“…Gillen responded by attempting to tackle Mr. Shaw to the concrete platform at the rear entrance to the facility,” the lawsuit said. “However, when Defendant Gillen attempted to strike Mr. Shaw, both Mr. Shaw and Defendant Gillen fell to the ground. At this point, Defendant Gillen pressed Mr. Shaw’s body against the plate. -concrete form before JCCF officers arrived to help Defendant Gillen get Mr. Shaw off the ground and inside the facility.

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Probable cause and trial show that Shaw and the officer continued to have trouble within the prison.

Police described Shaw’s behavior once he and the officer were inside the reservation area in court documents.

“Shaw became aggressive, pushing his body outside of a cell wall, using physical force to push against me and the correctional officers,” the probable cause affidavit continued. “Shaw then started using his legs and feet and intentionally and knowingly started kicking me in the shins and kneeling in my groin which hurt me.”

The probable cause document ends with the officer stating that Shaw was restrained and charged with assaulting an official. No other details are given in the probable cause of Shaw’s assault charge.

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At this point, the lawsuit provides a different description of events. He claims that Shaw did not assault the officer and provides more details about what allegedly happened in the jail.

“Once inside the facility, Mr. Shaw became irritated and refused to comply with the officers’ orders,” the complaint reads. “JCCF officers attempted to physically restrain Mr. Shaw. While Mr. Shaw was physically restrained by JCCF officers, Mr. Shaw lifted one of his legs while the accused Gillen was in front of him. Notably, while Mr. Shaw’s leg was lifted, Mr. Shaw did not contact the Defendant Gillen or any JCCF officers. In fact, at no time did Mr Shaw attempt to strike or assault the Defendant Gillen or any JCCF officers …”

The lawsuit says that due to his “non-compliance” Shaw was physically restrained against the wall by the jail officers and deputies who had “total and complete control” over Shaw.

“Mr. Shaw was not a danger to himself or others,” the lawsuit said. “Although Mr. Shaw used profanity toward JCCF officers and staff, he was not a threat Notably, at all relevant times, Mr. Shaw was handcuffed with his hands tied behind his back.

The lawsuit alleges that Gillen “suddenly” and “forcibly” threw an object he was holding across the room before violently grabbing Shaw away from a sergeant and detention officers.

“Gillen’s body struck Mr. Shaw, which landed Mr. Shaw on his head,” the lawsuit said. “Notably, while the accused Gillen punched Mr. Shaw’s body, Mr. Shaw’s hands were cuffed behind his back. As such, Mr Shaw lacked the ability to brace for impact as his head was thrown against a concrete floor with the full body weight of Defendant Gillen landing on him.

RELATED: UPDATE: Paralyzed man sues cop, city and sheriff’s office

The lawsuit also describes the hours after the alleged incident, Shaw’s experience and injuries.

Shaw decided to stand trial for assault after rejecting an offer from the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office in May. The deal offered Shaw a 10-year suspended prison sentence. If convicted at the next trial, he could face up to 20 years in a Texas prison.

Jefferson County District Attorney’s Chief of Admissions, Cory Kneeland, told The Enterprise that a grand jury voted against criminal indictment of the officers involved.

“Every time an injury occurs like this, it is investigated by independent law enforcement and then presented to the grand jury for charges,” Kneeland said.

The Beaumont Police Department, whose officials previously declined to comment due to ongoing litigation, did not provide a statement by press time regarding Shaw’s upcoming criminal case or legal action that was filed regarding Shaw’s allegations against the police department. Beaumont Police Chief James Singletary said at the time that he supported Gillen.

The Texas Department of Public Safety referred the company to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office for comment regarding the Texas Rangers’ investigation of the incident.

RELATED: Lawyers and supporters again demand release of body camera footage of paralyzed Beaumont man

Lawyers have been calling for the release of video footage related to Shaw’s arrest and injury for months, including at a press conference held in Jefferson County in August.

Attorney Chance Lynch confirmed that discovery in the civil case has not yet begun. However, discovery in the criminal and civil cases is expected to include video footage related to Shaw’s arrest and charges.

“We are in the early stages of the litigation process,” Lynch told The Enterprise last week.

Lynch said the video has not yet been made public for reasons related to prison security concerns, although there is footage of the prison area already publicly posted on the prison’s website.

“We don’t object to the video being made public,” Lynch told The Enterprise last week.

In a bid to “Seek justice for Christopher Shaw,” a new weekly “Truthful Thursdays” started on August 25.

Event coordinators said the event calls for truth and transparency and is scheduled to be held every Thursday at 10 a.m. until the video footage is released. The event is scheduled to be held again next week at the Jefferson County Courthouse and then at City Hall the following week.

Jefferson County Sheriff Zena Stephens declined to comment on the matter at this time due to ongoing litigation.

“I have no problem posting the video other than on the advice of our attorney, we couldn’t do that as it’s still part of a criminal case,” Stephens told The Enterprise on Thursday.

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