Officials face lawsuit in abuse of deaf man
The court is asked to grant more than $20 million in damages.
By MONICA BOND
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court Tuesday says law enforcement officials in Trumbull County used excessive force in subduing a deaf man who could not communicate with them.
Named as defendants by Earl C. Carroll of Ridge Road, Cortland, are Trumbull County deputy sheriff Anthony Diehl; Vienna Township and police supervisor Brian Darby; Brookfield Township and officer Ronald Mann; and Trumbull County and its legal counsel, Prosecutor Dennis Watkins.
The lawsuit filed on Carroll's behalf by Atty. Raymond J. Masek of Warren says authorities committed two counts of excessive force and one count each of usurping the functions of the court, multiple assaults and batteries, and unlawful discrimination against a disabled person. This violated Carroll's civil and constitutional rights, the lawsuit says.
Officials in the sheriff's and Brookfield departments said they could not comment because they hadn't seen the lawsuit. The supervisor could not be reached Tuesday afternoon at Vienna Police Department
The lawsuit says that Darby was called to a domestic disturbance involving Carroll and his wife Oct. 8, 2004. Carroll was handcuffed and pushed into the backseat of a cruiser, then began to kick the back of the front seat and yell. Darby called for backup from Brookfield Township police and the sheriff's department.
Three sheriff's SWAT team members -- two of the names are unavailable according the lawsuit -- pulled Carroll from the vehicle, "put [him] on the ground still in handcuffs and strapped his legs with leather."
The lawsuit claims Carroll suffered a rotator cuff tear in his left shoulder that required surgery and prolonged physical therapy as a result.
"Earl kept hollering 'HURT''' the lawsuit says. At no time was an interpreter called.
Carroll was then shot twice with a stun gun, passed out, and was put in the back of the Vienna Township cruiser, the lawsuit says. The filing says Darby and Mann "were watching as the assault occurred."
Carroll has suffered severe and continuing physical injuries, plus "severe emotional distress and a sense of outrage," and asks the court to grant him in excess of $10 million in compensatory and in excess of $10 million in punitive damages, the lawsuit said.
According to the filing, Carroll, 55, has been deaf since birth and is unable to speak, except for a few words "in a loud, moaning manner and accompanied by frequent flailing of his arms."