Black Jogger Arrested After Being Mistaken For Suspect Files Lawsuit

A Black man who was arrested while jogging after two police officers in San Antonio, Texas, mistook him for a domestic violence suspect is suing.

Mathias Ometu, 33, described the incident as "an unwarranted atrocious physical assault" in a recently filed lawsuit, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Ometu was stopped by the two officers, including one who is Black, who were seeking Darren Smith Jr. for allegedly attacking a woman at an apartment complex in August last year.

According to KSAT, the lawsuit against the officers and the city accuses the officers of using excessive force assault, and violating Ometu's constitutional rights.

The lawsuit, which also lists San Antonio Police Chief William McManus and the city as defendants, includes pictures of Ometu and the Smith to show the difference in their appearance. It also accuses authorities of initially assigning Ometu to a court-appointed defense attorney who died in 2011.

"The chief conducted a review of the incident and found that the officers acted appropriately," a spokesperson for the city attorney's office said in a statement to KSAT. "We will seek a speedy resolution of this matter in the courts."

The San Antonio Police Department and the city attorney's office have been contacted for additional comment.

Police said they repeatedly asked Ometu for his name during the stop, but he declined to give it and a struggle ensued. The Texas Penal Code states that a person being detained or questioned by police is not required to provide identifying information.

A video of the arrest that was captured by a witness showed officers trying to get Ometu into a police car. He was seen pushing back before they were able to wrest him into the vehicle.

Although police determined Ometu was not the suspect they were looking for, he was jailed and charged with two counts of assaulting a police officer.

The criminal charges against Ometu were dropped at the request of the officers who arrested him and Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales within days.

The incident sparked an uproar during a summer that saw nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice following the police killing of George Floyd.

Ometu's arrest, along with the killing of Damian Daniels, a Black veteran who was fatally shot by a Bexar County sheriff's deputy during a mental health check, prompted an activist group to declare San Antonio a "sundown town" last year.

The Defund SAPD Coalition warned Black people in or traveling to San Antonio to use "increased caution when visiting the city due to the city's policing policies that put Black Lives in danger."

BLM protest
Protesters hold a "Black Lives Matter" sign and raise their fists as they march through Greenwich Village in a demonstration over the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police on June 19, 2020 in New York. Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images