Lawsuit claiming excessive force allowed to proceed

Associated Press


An Ohio man’s excessive-force lawsuit can proceed against two sheriff’s deputies accused of slamming him into the ground so hard that he suffered a broken jaw, broken teeth and facial fractures, an appeals court panel ruled Friday.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s decision dismissing the lawsuit, filed in January 2010 by Lucas Burgess of Fairborn against Greene County sheriff’s deputies and other officials.

Burgess, 36, accused two deputies of excessive force, battery and negligence as he was being booked into the county jail in on Jan. 23, 2009, on a count of drunken driving.

Burgess said that deputies slammed his face into the ground while he was handcuffed and being physically cooperative for making a sarcastic remark that one of them should perform oral sex on him.

In reversing the dismissal of multiple claims in the lawsuit, the 6th Circuit found that the facts as asserted by Burgess point to unreasonable use of force.

Edward Dowd, attorney for the defendants, said he was disappointed but would need more time to read the lengthy ruling before commenting further or deciding whether to appeal.

The judges did uphold the dismissal of some counts from the lawsuit, including allegations that jail staff showed deliberate indifference for the alleged inadequate treatment of Burgess’ injuries and that the sheriff’s office failed to adequately train and supervise deputies on use of force and proper medical treatment.

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