A Texas man says he was choked by deputies for smiling in his mugshot.
Christopher Johnson is suing the Harris County sheriff’s office after two deputies allegedly assaulted him as he was being booked for suspected drunk driving last summer.
He says he was choked for half a minute during the July 25, 2015 booking process, ABC13 reported.
Johnson, who says he always smiles in photos, was allegedly berated for grinning in his mugshot by a deputy who said ‘Take the picture right’ and ‘Man, stop smiling!’
‘This is how I always take my pictures,’ Johnson says he replied.
Next, a second deputy stepped in, and joined the first officer in choking Johnson.
Money laundering politician Tom DeLay was allowed to smile in his mugshot when he was booked in 2005
The bizarre mugshot shows Johnson smiling as two men hold him by the neck.
Johnson’s legal representatives say the event caused him to suffer significant pain and mental anguish. They say the incident violated Johnson’s civil rights and seek compensation and punitive damages.
A police report accused Johnson of being uncooperative, something he denies.
In a statement to the New York Daily News, the sheriff’s department said it has no policy against smiling in mugshots.
‘It is not uncommon for detention personnel to assist impaired or uncooperative detainees during the booking photo process,’ spokesperson Ryan Sullivan told the Daily News.
The Daily News reported that another inmate booked by the same department, U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, was allowed to smile in his mugshot when he was taken in for money laundering charges in 2005.
DeLay was ultimately convicted for those charges and sentenced to three years in prison, the Daily News reported.
This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.