CHICAGO (CN) – A paraplegic man claims in court that two police officers in suburban Harvey threw him to the ground and pepper-sprayed him because he used his cell phone to videotape the officers searching a car.
Marc Miller sued the City of Harvey, former police Officer Shane Gordan, and Officer Simpkins in Federal Court.
Miller says he “was and is paralyzed from the chest down with no or limited use of his body other than his head, neck, arms, and hands as a result of being shot in the year 1991.”
Miller claims he was sitting in his wheelchair on a public sidewalk in Harvey in August 2010 when he “observed defendant Gordan, then a Harvey police sergeant, conduct a search of a civilian vehicle he ha[d] stopped.”
“Plaintiff believed the search of this civilian vehicle was being conducted in a very aggressive manner, so he took out his cell phone and attempted to videotape the interaction on his cell phone while remaining on the sidewalk 30 or more feet from where defendant Gordan was conducting the vehicle search,” Miller says.
When Gordan saw him, he demanded that Miller give him the cell phone, Miller says.
“When plaintiff verbally responded in the negative to this request, defendant Gordan grabbed plaintiff by the hair, and physically removed plaintiff from his wheelchair, bringing plaintiff to the ground.
“Shortly thereafter, defendant Simpkins approached plaintiff as he was on the ground, and sprayed plaintiff in the face and eyes with oleoresin capsicum, more commonly known as ‘pepper spray.'”
Then, Miller claims, “Gordan and/or Simpkins forcefully pushed plaintiff’s head in the ground while one or both of them had their knees in plaintiff’s back.”
He says, “Gordan and Simpkins did not have a reasonable basis for using the amounts of force used against the plaintiff.”
He seeks punitive damages for excessive force.
He is represented by Neil Toppel of Chicago.