Below is the account of a story detailing the unlawful arrest and imprisonment of a Brazoria County gentleman, Joby Damien. Joby spent most of his adult life in prison following the false arrest. This story was brought to our attention by Joby himself, and a slew of evidence corroborates his claims of innocence. If any reader would be interested in seeing the evidence, please reach out and we’d be more than happy to share it with you.
We are currently taking up donations that will be used to help Joby clear his name. If you would like to donate to Joby to help him in these legal battles, you can do so HERE. Thank you.
Justice is said to be blind. However, one thing rarely spoken about are the “blind spots” in the justice system. This story is about one such case; it is about one man who was failed by our judicial system.
On February 17, 1986, the Angleton police was summoned to residence of Joby Damian by his neighbors due to civil dispute. According to an article published in The Angleton Times on February 18, 1986 titled “Suspect Flees House in Cloud of Tear Gas,” the fire department and medical staff were present and acted as witnesses. After a standoff which lasted a few hours, this event resulted in Joby being shot with teargas and hit with a flashlight by a police officer without probable cause or a legal arrest warrant. Joby was subsequently arrested for the allegations of aggravated assault on his neighbor. This charge was then dropped and was replaced by an aggravated assault charge on Officer Harry Park, the police chief of Angleton Police Department at the time. The charge stated that Joby attacked Harry Park with an axe when Harry Park entered the house.
However, many witnesses to the incident have stepped forward and claimed that Harry Park never entered the residence. Therefore, Mr. Damien could not have attacked Chief Park with an axe as the charges insinuated.
When police arrived at the scene, Joby was inside his house and spoke to the police through the window. He told the officers that he would not step outside unless they had a warrant. Seeing that they had none, he told the officers to leave his residence until they had a warrant, but they did not do so. Joby then closed the window and retreated into his house before barricading himself in his bedroom.
The siege took place over 2 hours. It was towards the end of this siege that the incident with the axe occurred. Joby had the axe on him because he had been chopping wood when the police arrived. After barricading himself in his bedroom and realizing that the police were not going to leave him in peace, Joby swung the axe and hit his bedroom door out of sheer frustration. Joby states that there was nobody, neither officer nor civilian, in his house when he swung the axe.
The police then entered the house. Arriving at the barricaded bedroom door, they offered Joby a final chance to surrender. Before Joby had the opportunity to answer, police fired teargas into Joby’s bedroom. Joby was surrounded by teargas, and he removed the dresser that barricaded the door before voluntarily surrendering to the officers in the hallway. Though Joby was now unarmed, officers hit Joby in the head with a flashlight and effectively ended the siege.
On February 18, 1986, Joby was charged with assault on his neighbor. This charge was dropped, and he was then charged with assault on Harry Park. There were no civilian witnesses within Joby’s home to verify Park’s story of being assaulted by Joby. Joby asserts that he is innocent of a crime that never exists because Harry Park never even entered the house to be potentially assaulted on February 17, 1986. This assentation that Harry Park never entered the home is substantiated by the Angleton Times article.
Joby was railroaded to a conviction, sentenced to 29 years, and forced to serve all of his time. He was left high and dry because the police, specifically Harry Park, wanted to cover up their mistake. They never had any reason to arrest Joby to begin with, and they wrongfully used teargas on him and assaulted him with the flashlight when he was unarmed. To cover up these mistakes, they ultimately brought about these false assault charges. Judge Gale told Joby that he would protest Joby’s parole. He stipulated on Joby’s parole papers to say, “flat only.” This stipulation defeated Joby’s chances for an early parole every time his case went up to the parole board in Austin. Joby did decades worth of time in prison for nothing. Joby had to watch his life pass him by; he was forced to rot away in a prison cell and miss any chance for a true life. It was not until 2017 that he finally finished every bit of his sentencing and became free. By then, all those who were responsible for his wrong conviction, such as Judge Gale and Harry Park, were dead and gone. Joby did this time not for any crime; instead, he was put in prison due to the mistakes of the Angleton PD after they attacked him with teargas and hit him in the head with a flashlight, which knocked him out completely.
The newspaper article from the Angleton Times clearly depicts that Harry Park never entered his home to be attacked with an axe. However, the justice system seems to have turned a blind eye to Joby, and he was left to rot in prison while his perpetrators lived their full lives. It is a travesty, distorted, and absurd representation of the Judicial System. Joby Damien’s story is one of many that go unheard. And these are the stories that need to be shared.