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Old Man Says Cop Beat Him for Trying to Help

Fairhope, Ala. (CN) - A police officer beat an elderly man who called 911 to report an accident and stop a drunken driver from leaving the scene of a crime, according to a complaint in Baldwin County Court.

Dorsey Henderson says he investigated an auto accident that happened across the street from his house. After determining that one of the drivers was belligerently intoxicated, he told the man not to leave and called the police.

When Officer Trent Scott arrived on the scene, Henderson tried to tell him what had happened and that he had put the driver under "citizen's arrest" because he was trying to leave. Officer Scott told Henderson there is "no such thing as citizen's arrest in Alabama," adding "get out of the way[,] old man."

While citizen's arrest is a gray area in Alabama, Henderson says he had "only been trying to help."

Nevertheless, Scott put him in an arm bar, tearing the man's rotator cuff, and walked him across the street.

When they were back in Henderson's driveway, Scott "slammed" the elderly man face first into the driveway, breaking his nose and his glasses. Scott "proceeded to beat" Henderson in "the back of the head, neck and arms." Scott did not arrest Henderson or charge him with any crime.

Henderson's wife, Dorris, watched from a wheelchair 18 feet away and called 911, saying that Scott was "beating the hell out of my husband." When the ambulance arrived, Scott sent it away, handcuffed the man and put him in the back of his patrol car.

Scott's superior showed up, released Henderson and called the ambulance back to treat Henderson and bring him to Thomas Hospital.

As of May 16, 2011, Officer Trent Scott was still employed by the Fairhope Police Department.

Henderson and his wife seek damages for constitutional violations. They are represented D. Keith Landers of Daphne, Ala.

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