A 17-year-old suing the city of Texarkana, Texas, and a police officer for a pepper spray eye injury was sentenced to five years probation Friday for theft of a firearm.
DaQuan Queashad Huey was arrested in the early morning hours of Oct. 10 by Texarkana, Texas, police after officers allegedly found two pistols in Huey's pants. One of the weapons had been reported stolen by a retired Texarkana, Texas, police detective.
In Texas, people accused of criminal conduct are treated as adults at 17, the age Huey reached in September. Huey first pleaded guilty to theft of a firearm Jan. 25, two days before he was struck in the eye with the full force of a JPX pepper spray gun. The event is central to a federal lawsuit alleging Huey is a victim of excessive use of force by police.
Huey appeared for sentencing on the weapons charge in February. Fifth District Judge Bill Miller refused to approve a plea offer that included deferred adjudication probation. Deferred adjudication allows defendants who successfully complete probation to keep their criminal histories felony-free.
Upon his rejection of the plea offer in February, Miller allowed Huey to withdraw his guilty plea and consider his options. Huey pleaded guilty a second time to theft of a firearm Friday with the help of Assistant Public Defender Sylvia Delgado and was sentenced to a five-year term of standard felony probation. Should he violate the terms of his probation, Huey could be ordered to serve up to two years in a Texas state jail.
As conditions of his probation, Huey must complete a substance abuse program, complete 240 hours of community service, submit his DNA for inclusion in a federal database and submit to random drug and alcohol testing.
"It goes without saying and I hope you understand you are not to possess any firearms or ammunition or you're looking at two years in the pen," Miller said.
As a now-convicted felon, Huey is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.
Miller asked Huey if he is attending high school. Huey said he is not currently enrolled. Miller ordered that Huey acquire a high school diploma or a GED within the next two years. After briefly conversing with Huey's mother, Miracle Farr, Delgado informed the court that Huey is considered to be in ninth grade. Miller remained firm in the two-year requirement for high school or GED completion.
Huey's legal troubles don't end with his felony probation.
Earlier this week, Huey was booked into the Bowie County jail on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest stemming from his alleged misconduct on the day his eye was injured. Huey was released Wednesday on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond through Bowie County.
In the federal suit filed by Farr as Huey's guardian, Huey alleges he was trying to break up a fight, had honored a police officer's order to drop a baseball bat he'd taken from someone else and was unaware he was wrestling with a police officer when he was struck in the face with the pepper spray at extremely close range.
But a response to the suit filed on behalf of the city of Texarkana, Texas, and Texarkana, Texas, Police Department Officer Scott Lillis, alleges the blame for Huey's injury is placed on him. The response alleges body and dash camera recordings show Huey was behaving aggressively and was in a boxing stance when Lillis approached him as he faced a woman whom he appeared ready to fight.
The defendants allege Huey looked at Lillis and knew a uniformed officer was next to him when Lillis put his arm on him. According to the response, Lillis had drawn his JPX gun with his right hand and ordered the woman to back up while placing his left hand on the back of Huey's neck. The defendants accuse Huey of grabbing Lillis' duty belt, which held his service pistol, and struggling with him on an inclined lawn. Huey allegedly moved into the path of the JPX spray just as it was deployed, according to the defendants' response.
Police were called to the Brookwood Drive area regarding large crowds of people fighting outdoors about 12:30 p.m. Jan. 27.
That case is pending in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas before U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III and U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven. No hearings are currently scheduled.
Since the eye injury, Farr has started a GoFundMe page seeking donations for Huey's medical expenses which has raised $10,657. In the post seeking financial assistance, Farr describes Huey as a "peacemaker" who was the victim of a "brutal assault" by police.