A Texas man was found not guilty of theft on Tuesday after confiscating his daughter's cell phone to teach her a lesson.
Ronald Jackson of Grand Prairie, near Dallas, was facing a misdemeanor theft charge after he took away his then 12-year-old daughter's iPhone 4S in September 2013, after he discovered a rude text message she had sent, according to court records.
The girl's mother, Michelle Steppe, from whom Jackson is estranged, complained to police, alleging the phone belonged to her.
"As a mom, I'm upset because — number one — the property belongs to me," she told local station WFAA.
Jackson was eventually arrested by police and forced to pay a $1,500 bond to get out of jail.
"I didn't want the police department telling me how to parent my child. It made no sense to me for them to show up and make a big deal out of something that was a small thing," he told CBS DFW.
"I was being a parent. You know, a child does something wrong, you teach them what's right," he said.
On Tuesday, however, Jackson's case was settled after a two-day trial, when the judge ordered the jury to find him not guilty, citing a lack of evidence.
His attorney said he planned to file a federal lawsuit alleging Jackson's civil rights were violated by local officials
Although he won in court, Jackson said he has lost his daughter and ex-partner forever. "I have to separate myself from them," he told CBS. "I can't ever have a relationship with them again."
David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.
Contact David Mack at email@example.com.
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