NEW BOSTON, Texas–A Bowie County jury returned a not guilty verdict on Tuesday for a man who lost vision in one eye after being hit directly in the face by a policeman’s pepper spray gun in 2019.
Daquan Huey, now 21, was 17 when Texarkana Texas Police Department officers responded to a large crowd fighting in the Brookwood Drive area of Texarkana, Texas, on Jan. 27, 2019. Huey suffered complete loss of vision in his left eye after being struck at close range by a JPX chemical spray gun.
Huey was subsequently charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest in the incident. Individuals accused of criminal conduct in Texas are treated as adults at age 17 and above.
A Bowie County jury seated to decide the case at trial before County Court at Law Judge Craig Henry acquitted Huey of the charge Tuesday.
Huey’s criminal defense attorney, Josh Potter of Texarkana, said Huey was backing away from a woman he feared would attack him when he was grabbed from behind by Officer Scott Lillis.
“The defense argued that the state failed to prove that Daquan knew the person who grabbed him was a police officer and not part of the 80 or so individuals in the street fighting,” Potter said. “Officer Lillis pushed Daquan’s head down and within one or two seconds fired his JPX mace gun into his eye.”
Potter said Huey told the jury that he never saw the officer from the side or behind him and only learned it was law enforcement after he’d been struck.
“The officers both testified that they didn’t announce themselves as police officers,” Potter said. “They also didn’t say he was under arrest.”
About a month after the incident, Huey’s mother, Miracle Farr, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Texarkana and Lillis alleging excessive use of force. The defendants previously filed a response that denied any wrongdoing and which faulted Huey for his injury in the course of allegedly resisting arrest.
The federal case has been on hold while criminal charges against Huey were sorted.
The civil case is pending in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas and is assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III.