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Taylor Rogers Suing Texas Police for Allegedly Holding Her Face on Fire Ants

Police chief says officers acted appropriately when arresting Taylor Rogers.

A woman left covered in bug bites after alleging that police handcuffed her and restrained her in a bed of fire ants has initiated legal action against the City of Santa Fe.

Taylor Rogers. Credit: Attorney Randall Kallinen.

The lawsuit arises from Taylor Rogers’ arrest by the Santa Fe Police Department in 2021. Civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen conveyed during a Saturday news conference that Rogers was stopped by Santa Fe police without cause, forced onto the ground into a bed of fire ants during daylight hours, and held down while she screamed.

Police body camera footage provided to KHOU 11 News by Kallinen depicts a segment of Rogers’ arrest before it abruptly ends. She can be seen on the ground being handcuffed when she begins to scream.

Screenshot from video. Credit: Attorney Randall Kallinen.

“Ants are on my face, ants are getting on my face, please!” Rogers can be heard yelling in the video. “How can y’all do this? Ants are on my face! Please let go!”

Despite being handcuffed and unable to brush off the ants, Rogers claimed the officers did not assist her in doing so.

Kallinen shared images showing Rogers covered in fire ant bites on her face, neck, chest, and shoulders.

“Is it torture? Yeah, that’s a strong word, but I call it torture,” Kallinen stated. “When the police hold you down in a fire ant bed and you’re saying fire ants and screaming, and they keep you there, what is that?”

Rogers asserted that the incident unfolded in front of her 9-year-old son, who was seated in the back of her vehicle.

In a prepared statement, Rogers remarked that the officers exhibited “an absence of empathy and human compassion.”

The civil rights lawsuit also implicates two SFPD officers.

In contrast, Santa Fe ISD Police Chief Ruben Espinoza recounted that he halted Rogers that day because she attempted an illegal turn into the school parking lot. Espinoza indicated that Rogers grew agitated, disregarded him, and drove toward the rear parking lot. Another officer reportedly intervened to intercept her.

“When she [the officer] gave the description of the vehicle, I immediately knew who it was. So, I approached the intersection and observed Miss Rogers fleeing,” Espinoza recalled. “She was also passing a vehicle in the grassy area on the right side when I tried to get in front of her to stop. She didn’t put her vehicle in reverse and fled from me.”

Rogers asserted she failed to stop because she was frightened after the officer pounded on her vehicle and aimed a firearm at her. She expressed being unsure of what to do because her son was in the car.

Subsequently, Espinoza stated that he employed his vehicle to impede Rogers, after which SFPD officers removed her from the vehicle and placed her in handcuffs.

The police chief presented images of Rogers’ arrest, asserting that no fire ant beds were visible.

He maintained that the body camera footage shared by Kallinen was misleading and contended that Rogers was treated with “respect and dignity.”

“They stopped the clip that they provided to you. The officer says, ‘Calm down and we will lift you up,'” Espinoza remarked. “At that point, she said, ‘OK, I will calm down,’ and they lifted her up immediately.”

According to Espinoza, Rogers subsequently pleaded guilty to the charges related to evading police. Kallinen stated she received deferred adjudication.

The officers implicated were found to have acted appropriately, according to Kallinen. As part of her lawsuit, Rogers seeks disciplinary action against the officers and requests additional de-escalation training for the department.

“While I forgive those officers for their actions that day, I refuse to remain silent in the face of a violation of my son’s and my civil rights,” Rogers affirmed.

Source: KHOU 11

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SourceKHOU 11

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