Lawsuit: Police officers regularly injure disabled individuals
Five citizens of Lexington, Mississippi, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city’s police department and its chief for “habitually subjecting Black citizens to harassment and brutality, in violation of their constitutional rights.”
Lexington, which has a population of about 1,800 people, is 85% Black. It is located in one of the nation’s poorest counties – Holmes County. The town is perhaps best known for headlines its former police chief, Sam Dobbins, made national headlines over the summer for using racist and homophobic slurs. Dobbins was fired after caught on tape bragging about killing citizens in the line of duty:
“You’re going to get some s— in the streets, and there’s only going to be one man fighting for you, and it’s going to be me, OK? Don’t ever ruin that, all right, because these other n—–s, they’re [unintelligible]. I don’t give a f— if you kill a mother—er in cold blood. I will articulate to fix the f—ing problem, and I’m the only man in the business here that’s smart enough to do it.”
The officer bragged about his past killings. “I have killed 13 men in my career, justified,” he said. “In my line of duty, I have shot and killed 13 different people.”
“You shot that many motherf—ers?” the other officer asked.
“Yes, sir, justified, bro’,” the officer asked. “Ask around.”
The officer began to detail some of those cases, saying, “I’m talking about a man had a gun, a man had to die.”
He described a shootout in a cornfield. “Justified, bro’,” he said. “I shot that n—– 119 times, OK? I saved 67 kids in a school.”
“I chased this motherf—er across the field. I got him. He was DRT [dead right there] in the field. The vehicle was shot 319 times, but he was hit 119 times by me.”
- Audio of Dobbins’ conversation
According to the lawsuit, Lexington Police Department (LPD) officers regularly retaliate against residents who speak out against police, conduct false arrests and baseless vehicle searches, and employ unreasonable force against Black residents.
As set forth in this Complaint, the actions of Defendants in targeting, threatening, coercing, harassing, and assaulting Lexington’s Black citizens violated their right to equal protection under the law pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Defendants have erected roadblocks to conduct illegal searches and seizures exclusively in predominantly Black neighborhoods in Lexington. Additionally, LPD permits White drivers to pass through roadblocks without being stopped and investigated. Further, Defendants target Black residents for municipal code enforcement, including the 2022 enforcement of a prohibition on residents parking vehicles on their lawn against Black residents while allowing White residents to violate the code without consequence. Moreover, Black residents are singled out for arrests without probable cause and retaliation. LPD’s disparate treatment of Black Lexington citizens has no legitimate basis and is motivated by invidious discriminatory animus.
A Black couple filed a lawsuit against the city of Rosenberg, Texas, and its police department for knowingly conducting an unconstitutional search and seizure in 2020.
Michael Lewis, 67, and Regina Armstead, 57, allege in a federal civil rights lawsuit that they were driving home from lunch when Rosenberg police (RPD) pulled them over. The officers, who were searching for a group of teens that had allegedly brandished a gun, held the couple at gunpoint, handcuffed, and detained them.
Once Ms. Armstead stopped, officers directed her over the vehicle intercom system to throw her keys out of the window. She did. The officers then demanded she exit the vehicle and get on the ground on her knees. Ms. Armstead kneeled with her hands up as the officers stood by their vehicle with their guns drawn…While being handcuffed, Ms. Armstead informed the officers that Mr. Lewis is a dialysis patient and his medical condition is managed through the use of an AV Fistula in his left forearm. Ms. Armstead further informed RPD that Mr. Lewis could not have tight items, such as handcuffs, around his left arm or wrist due to his medical condition.
Four armed officers—including one holding an assault rifle—then ordered Mr. Lewis out of the vehicle and told him to get on the ground…Once on his knees, RPD officers began to handcuff Mr. Lewis. He informed the officers that he had a stint in his hand and his doctor had instructed him to not put anything on his hands or wrists, just as Ms. Armstead had cautioned them. The officers ignored Mr. Lewis’s concerns and handcuffed him anyway. An officer then pulled Mr. Lewis to his feet and put him in the back of a separate police vehicle where he remained for approximately 20 minutes.
The officers found no weapons, no contraband, and no other evidence of illegal activity. Due to the handcuffs, Lewis—who has kidney disease—experienced “prolonged pain and suffering” and had to undergo numerous medical procedures to replace the fistula in his arm.
As a direct and proximate result of Defendants’ conduct, Plaintiffs have suffered losses and damages in a sum within the jurisdictional limits of the court, for which they bring suit. Specifically, both Ms. Armstead and Mr. Lewis felt frightened, humiliated, embarrassed, and persecuted for being Black, and suffered severe mental anguish from the arrest and from being detained. Mr. Lewis suffered physical harm from the unnecessary and excessive handcuffs placed around his left wrist despite Defendants having been repeatedly informed of Mr. Lewis’s medical condition.
According to the complaint, RPD regularly fails to accommodate people with known disabilities.
RPD is currently being sued for the violent arrest of a man missing bones in his arms. RPD officers handcuffed the man even though they knew handcuffing would result in an injury.
RPD was sued in 2016 for brutally arresting a chemotherapy patient with a “port-a-cath” implant in her chest. RPD officers kicked the cancer patient’s feet out from under her and slammed her on the ground even though her husband warned the officers that she had a medical device on her chest.26 RPD settled the case in 2017.
RPD was also sued in 2011 for violently arresting a man who was hard of hearing and breaking his hearing aid.
Two Indiana officers were suspended after arresting a town council candidate for what they believed to be anti-police views, stopping him from running for office.
Brookville police Chief Terry Mitchum and Lt. Ryan Geiser arrested Trevin Thalheimer, who was considering running for the board of the small town, on drug and rape charges that were later dropped. Thalheimer would have had oversight of the police department if he was elected.
He says he doesn’t understand why Mitchum and Geiser thought he held anti-police views.
“I was shocked and in disbelief. Furious,” he said Wednesday, adding he experienced a “whole range of emotions” in the aftermath. “It was very hard.”
…Thalheimer’s attorney, Judson McMillin said previously the officers got a search warrant after claiming they smelled marijuana on Thalheimer and his friend. They then arrested both people, later adding a rape charge based on an old allegation against Thalheimer that did not result in a prosecution.
Franklin County Prosecutor Chris Huerkamp was so disturbed by the officers’ actions that he joined a defense motion to suppress charges and reported the incident to the Indiana State Police for investigation and possible criminal charges against the suspended officers.
More bad cops
“Probes launched into violent Arkansas arrest captured on video,” NBC News.
“Ex-Detective Admits Misleading Judge Who Approved Breonna Taylor Raid,” New York Times.
“A 37th Person Has Had Their Murder Conviction Overturned Based On Chicago Police Misconduct,” Buzzfeed News.
“Video of violent Lincoln Co. arrest released over objection from sheriff, DA,” WBTV.
“Asian Americans sue Siskiyou County and its sheriff, alleging racial bias,” LA Times.
“New racist texts reveal Torrance cops talked about hurting and killing Black suspects,” LA Times.