portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting united states

government | police / legal

Skater charged with assault on officer

A Dallas Roller Derby skater was indicted Thursday on a felony charge of assaulting a Dallas police officer stemming from a January incident in which she and several witnesses say the officer was the aggressor and used excessive force.
Reports related to the indictment charge that Michelle Metzinger, 25, was belligerent and fought with Officer Ceaphus Gordon after the officer asked to see her identification because, he said, she had been roller skating recklessly through traffic on Elm Street in Deep Ellum.
Michelle Metzinger
Michelle Metzinger

According to Officer Gordon's report, Ms. Metzinger tried to gouge his eye with her fingers when he tried to handcuff and arrest her on a charge of public intoxication.

The officer then tried to force Ms. Metzinger to the sidewalk using a "straight arm bar take down," but instead, she "rolled from the police car to the ground," his report says. Ms. Metzinger continued scratching and kicking the officer on the ground, the report says.

Officer Gordon described his injuries as three 1/8th-inch scratches near his right eye and scratches and bruises on his chin.

He described Ms. Metzinger's injury as a "small laceration that required a stitch," although his report indicates that she spent five hours at Parkland Memorial Hospital before she was taken to jail.

Kevin Clancy, Ms. Metzinger's attorney, said he was disappointed that he was not allowed to present evidence to the grand jury that would have offered a different account of what happened.

Eight witnesses to the arrest have filed affidavits saying that Ms. Metzinger was not intoxicated and that she did not resist the officer.

The witnesses state that after Ms. Metzinger was forced to the ground, Officer Gordon put his knee on her back or neck while he was handcuffing her, which is not described in the officer's reports.

"I think it's a travesty that this poor girl was charged with this," Mr. Clancy said. "I really do think that the grand jury did not look at the evidence."

A separate investigation into the incident by Dallas police internal affairs is ongoing.

Mr. Clancy said Dallas police have so far not interviewed any of the witnesses.

Officer Gordon has had 27 complaints filed against him in his 14-year career, most of which were ruled "unfounded" or "inconclusive." Of those inconclusive complaints, at least two involved allegations of excessive force.