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, the apartment door was broken down and three Dallas police officers entered. One rushed into the bathroom and pushed Curlin into the bathtub and handcuffed him.
The officers—Quentis Roper, Sean Moses, and Daniel Maples Jr.—searched the apartment and said they found a handgun, three baggies of crack cocaine, a razor blade with cocaine residue and crack pipes. 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 unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon and possession with intent to deliver cocaine.
After he was released on bond, he filed a written complaint with the police Internal Affairs Division, complaining that the officers 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 District Court in December 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 reported finding the gun and drugs.
A jury convicted Curlin of both charges on December 10, 1997. He was sentenced to a total of 35 years in prison and fined $15,000.
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 pled guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison. Roper was convicted at trial and was sentenced to 17 years in prison.
After both were convicted, the Dallas District Attorney’s Office dismissed more than 80 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, Moses and the City of Dallas.
– Maurice Possley