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Tuesday, July 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Deputies Beat Him Senseless, Black Cop Says

PENSACOLA, Fla. (CN) - A black law enforcement agent says sheriff's deputies Tasered and beat him and sicced a dog on him though he identified himself as a cop and, in fact, was talking on his cell phone to the sheriff's office, explaining his situation, while the deputies beat the hell out of him.

Ira Lee McQueen was on duty undercover as an agent with the Florida Division of Alcohol, Beverage and Tobacco in Pensacola when the Escambia County Sheriff's deputies jumped him, he says in his federal complaint.

McQueen was investing a liquor store clerk's sale of alcoholic beverages to a minor, and took a gun from the clerk, according to the complaint. A customer left the store and called police.

While McQueen was on the phone with the Sheriff's Office running a check on the clerk and his gun, he noticed that the store had been surrounded by more than 15 officers. He asked the Sheriff's Office to notify the officers that he was a Special Agent with the Florida ATF.

According to the complaint, "the Escambia County Sheriff's Office employee on the telephone with the plaintiff instructed [him] to walk outside make contact with the officers."

McQueen says he "complied with the telephone directions and the officers' demands while at the same time shouting to them that he was a special agent and a law enforcement officer."

He says that though he lay on the ground as instructed, he was Tasered "multiple times" though he continued to identify himself as an officer.

Nonetheless, the deputies jumped on him, "landing on the plaintiff's back with their knees and then repeatedly slamm[ed] the plaintiff's head into the concrete sidewalk," and then sicced a police dog on him, who "inflicted wounds on the plaintiff's legs, as he lay on the ground completely restrained."

After handcuffing the beaten and bruised McQueen, the deputies found his ID, but did not release him "for a period of time," he says.

McQueen says eventually he was taken to the hospital while the officers ridiculed him. He demands damages for constitutional and civil rights violations and violations of policy, including Tasering policy.

Defendants include Escambia County Sheriff Harry McNesby, Sgt. Shedrick Johnson, deputies Mickey O'Reilly and Jimmy Tatum, and other deputies yet to be identified.

McQueen is represented by James Murray of Crestview, Fla.

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