A Dallas Black man is suing the city and multiple police officers after he says he was beaten and tased by police after cops mistook him for a domestic violence suspect who had a similar name.
According to NBC News, Silvester Hayes, 27, filed a federal lawsuit last week after an October 2021 encounter with police led to him losing his home and job as a security guard, according to the lawsuit.
“It knocked me all the way down,” Hayes said in a video statement. “It kind of ruined my life.”
In the lawsuit, Silvester Hayes says he was driving to a restaurant near his home to get breakfast for his children when Dallas officers Walter Paul Guab and Holly Harris pulled him over for failing to signal at a stop sign.
Silvester Hayes believes he was racially profiled and called the officers’ motives for pulling him over “suspicious” and “obviously manufactured.”
Once officers pulled Hayes over, he complied and gave Guab his driver’s license, also telling the officers he had a lawfully registered firearm with him.
Guab then decided not to run Harris’ driver’s license through the police database, thinking he was someone he was not. According to the lawsuit, the officer mistook Hayes for a man named “Sylvester,” who had a family violence warrant. Guab’s demeanor became aggressive and she tried to open Haye’s driver-side door. “Alarmed by this sudden escalation in aggression,” Hayes repeatedly asked what was happening, according to the suit.
When other officers arrived on the scene, the incident escalated again when they began screaming “gun” after spotting Hayes’ firearm in his vehicle.
“In a proverbial case of gasoline being poured on a fire, having multiple Dallas Police Officers yelling ‘gun’ only escalated the Officers’ use of excessive force on Plaintiff Hayes,” the suit says. “Instead of providing Plaintiff Hayes with an explanation for forcibly removing him from his vehicle, Defendant Officers Guab and Harris escalated their use of force against Plaintiff Hayes.”
The suit also claims that body camera video shows officers pulling Hayes out of his car and smashing his head against the curb before placing him in handcuffs. Officers are also accused of kicking, punching and using their taser on Hayes. One officer can be seen with his knee on Hayes’ neck, according to the lawsuit.
Silvester Hayes was charged with resisting arrest and unlawful possession of a weapon. He was held in jail for several days and according to the lawsuit, his charges were not dismissed until over a year later.
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