More Trouble for Former Hearne Police Officer

By: David Norris Email
By: David Norris Email

HEARNE, Texas - A former Hearne Police officer, already under investigation for a shooting that left a 93-year-old woman dead, has been sued by a man who says the officer harassed him during a traffic stop.

Saad Qureshi said he was on his way home to Houston from a business trip in Waco in April. He was passing through Hearne when he was pulled over by officer Stephen Stem.

In dash-cam video obtained by News 3, Stem asks Qureshi if he's okay, and tells Qureshi he looks like he's sweating. Qureshi tells Stem it was because he'd been working hard all weekend, and was anxious to get home.

Things start to heat up when Stem accuses Qureshi of lying to him about a ticket he received in Milam County.

"I show that barely two days ago you were pulled over and given a ticket for going 91 in a 70 in Milam County," said Stem in the video.

According to copy of Qureshi's driving record from the Texas Department of Transportation, that ticket was actually issued in 2012.

Stem continued questioning Qureshi, and eventually called other officers to the scene.

"Why are you harassing me?" asked Qureshi.

"Sit tight," said Stem. "Stay in the car."

Stem could later be heard out of the camera's view telling another officer Qureshi looked very nervous.

Stem never issued Qureshi a ticket, and eventually let him go about 45 minutes after the initial traffic stop. Qureshi said he agreed to let officers search him twice, and then to search his car.

Among other things, Qureshi is suing for mental anguish he said he endured during the traffic stop.

"The police are supposed to be there to protect you. And I just want to make sure they do their job in the future," said Qureshi. "And I just don't want other people to go through what I had to go through."

According to the lawsuit, the case arises from the illegal targeting of an ethnic minority by officers of the City of Hearne Police Department. The suit claims the City of Hearne's police force has a long history of illegally and unfairly targeting minorities.

Qureshi's attorney, Robert Whitley said the entire incident was based on false pretenses.

"He wasn't trying to protect my client, he wasn't trying to protect the citizens of Hearne," said Whitley. "No one should have to be scared to drive through any city in this country, should have to be scared that the police are going to harass them."

News 3 reached out to Stem's attorney, who said he was working on an appropriate response.

Just a month after this incident, Stem shot and killed Pearlie Golden, a 93-year-old Hearne woman. Investigators said Golden was holding a gun and refused to put it down, despite Stem's repeated orders to do so. City Council eventually voted to terminate Stem's employment with the city following the shooting.

Hearne officials said because of pending litigation, they cannot comment at this time.

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