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Ex-security guard sues 10 Dallas police officers he says mistook him for a violent criminal

Silvester Hayes speaking in a video statement.
Courtesy REW Law Group
Silvester Hayes said his record was "squeaky clean" before the Oct. 16, 2021 arrest in a video statement.

An Oak Cliff man sued 10 Dallas police officers he says used excessive force after mistaking him for a man accused of violent crime in 2021.

In a federal lawsuit filed last week, Silvester Hayes accused officers Holly Harris, Walter Paul Guab and eight others including a sergeant of racial profiling and removing him from his car with excessive force before realizing they had the wrong man.

Hayes, a 27-year-old Black man, is a single father to four children. On the morning of Oct. 16, 2021, he drove a few blocks from his home to get breakfast for his children before the traffic stop by Harris and Guab, according to the lawsuit.

"Before this incident, I did have a clean, clean record," Hayes said in a video statement. "It was squeaky clean. Never got arrested or anything like that."

That's when the suit says Guab took Hayes' driver's license. The suit goes on to say the officers failed to verify his identity through the department’s database, and that the officers mistook Hayes for a man with a similar name wanted for a family violence warrant.

Hayes says he was forcibly pulled from his vehicle before eight other unidentified officers arrived on scene and used excessive force without verifying information from Harris and Guab.

Three police officers detain Silvester Hayes outside of his car.
Courtesy REW Law Group
Police body cam video shows several Dallas police officers pulling Silvester Hayes from his car on Oct. 16, 2021.

The lawsuit cites body-worn camera footage, which it says shows the officers kicking, punching and using tasers on Hayes, who was pinned down with an officer’s knees on his skull, neck and back.

It says he was then "hog tied" and put in the back of a department cruiser before police realized he was the wrong man.

"The Dallas Police Department Sargent...informed [Hayes] of the case of mistaken identity and apologized for 'his team roughing him up'," according to the lawsuit.

The DPD Sargent told Harris and Guab to bring in Hayes for resisting arrest and unlawful possession of a weapon, according to the lawsuit. Hayes had a firearm in his vehicle, but said the weapon was legally registered under his name.

Hayes said he was held in jail for several days, and lost his security job because he missed work. He alleged the arrest made him unemployable as a security guard, and said he was unable to provide a home for his children.

"Hayes’ termination from his job as a security guard started a downward spiral that would continue wreak havoc on his life for the next fourteen months," the federal complaint said.

A city spokesperson said a KERA News request for comment was under review, but a statement was not provided as of Monday afternoon.

Megan Cardona is a daily news reporter for KERA News. She was born and raised in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and previously worked at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.