Shortly after 1 a.m. on August 2, 1997, Anthony Curlin—after spending the three previous hours battling the breakdown of his truck and car—returned to his apartment in Dallas, Texas.
Moments later, three Dallas police officers burst through the door and rushed into the bathroom where they pushed him into the bathtub and handcuffed him.
Two of the officers, Quentis Roper and Daniel Maples Jr., searched the apartment and said they found a handgun and three baggies of crack cocaine. Several other people were in the apartment—a cousin who had asked permission to spend the night and some friends of the cousin whom Curlin did not know.
Curlin, 39, was arrested and charged with illegal possession of a handgun and possession with intent to deliver cocaine.
After he was released on bond, he filed a written complaint with the police Internal Affairs Division, alleging that the officers broke down his door and entered without a search warrant. After learning of the complaint, Roper returned to Curlin’s apartment, kicked open the door and tossed a wadded-up search warrant on the floor. Curlin returned to the police department and filed another complaint.
Curlin went on trial in Dallas County Criminal Court on December 10, 1997. Roper testified that the officers went to the apartment after receiving an anonymous 911 call from a citizen reporting drug activity in the apartment. The officers denied breaking down the door and reported finding the gun and drugs.
A jury convicted Curlin of both charges that same day. He was sentenced to a total of 35 years in prison and fined $15,000. He was taken into custody to begin serving his sentence.
Not long after, law enforcement began investigating Roper and Maples based on citizen complaints that the officers were making arrests and searches without warrants and probable cause and stealing money and drugs.
Roper and Maples were indicted by a Dallas County grand jury on corruption charges and were convicted in 2000 in Dallas County Criminal Court. Maples pleaded guilty and testified against Roper. Maples was sentenced to two years in prison and Roper was sentenced to 17 years in prison.
After both were convicted, the Dallas District Attorney’s Office dismissed nearly 50 pending cases in which Roper and Maples were involved, and began to administer polygraph examinations to convicted defendants who claimed they were wrongly convicted based on the actions of Roper and Maples.
Curlin passed his polygraph examination and on September 13, 2000, he was released from prison. The charges were dismissed by the prosecution on September 25, 2000.
In 2004, Curlin received a settlement of $285,000 to settle a lawsuit he filed against Maples, Roper and the City of Dallas.
– Maurice Possley