Man Says He Was Jailed in a Closet
CLEVELAND (CN) - A man accused of cocaine possession during a late-night traffic stop claims in court that he was beaten by a drunken detective, hauled off to jail and locked in a storage closet for two days.
Arnold Black sued the City of East Cleveland, its police Det. Randy Hicks, Officer Jonathan O'Leary, and Police Chief Ralph Spotts, in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
Black says Hicks and O'Leary pulled him over around midnight on April 28, 2012. Hicks ordered O'Leary to initiate the stop "so Hicks could question and search plaintiff's vehicle and because Hicks had been drinking and could not safely perform a traffic stop," Black says in the 19-page lawsuit, which demands $3 million.
According to the complaint, Hicks mistook Black's green Silverado for a similar car known to be carrying drugs. After handcuffing Black, Hicks questioned him.
Black claims that Hicks told him "he was looking for a kilo of cocaine and a green truck like the one driven by plaintiff."
"Defendant Hicks said, 'Since we pulled you over, they're going to see that I pulled over a green truck, and now they're not going to come through my city. I was at a bar with friends. You messed up my night.
"Then defendant Hicks punched plaintiff in the temple region of his face/head," the complaint states.
Black claims that Hicks threatened him with 18 months in prison and punched him again while Officer O'Leary stood by and watched.
"Throughout the assault on the handcuffed plaintiff, defendant Hicks smelled of an alcoholic beverage, had slurred speech, glossy bloodshot eyes, and a noticeable lack of coordination," Black says in the lawsuit.
He claims that O'Leary took him to the East Cleveland Police Station, where, instead of being put in a holding cell, "plaintiff was imprisoned in a back room/storage area along with changing/storage lockers."
"For at least 2 of the 4 days defendants held plaintiff in the locker room/storage area, defendants afforded plaintiff no phone calls, food, water, bedding, wash or toilet facilities," the complaint states/
Black says he was forced to sleep, sit and stand on the tile floor in the locker room, and eventually urinated in a locker to avoid soiling his clothes.
An unknown officer eventually gave Black his cell phone, which he used to call his fiancée, who was told she could not see him when she arrived at the police station, Black says.
On April 30, Black says, he was brought before of a city councilwoman and Police Chief Spotts to explain what had happened when he was arrested and his subsequent treatment.
Black says he told his side of the story, was taken to jail and charged with possession of cocaine.
He claims that the "defendants wrote baseless allegations in police documents and offered false testimony before the grand jury for the purpose of protecting defendant Hicks, defendant O'Leary, Chief Spotts, and the reputation of their department."
Black says he was indicted on June 4, 2012, but the case was dismissed in his favor on July 19.
He seeks $3 million in damages for false imprisonment, battery, malicious prosecution and civil conspiracy.
He is represented by Robert DiCello of Mentor, Ohio.