JASPER, Ala. (CN) – Two Sumiton, Ala. police officers looking for a traffic violator falsely arrested his mother at home because she didn’t know where her son was, pepper-sprayed and arrested another son, and when the first son showed up they Tasered him repeatedly, the family claims in court.
Linda Carroll and her sons Tony and Jacob Hicks sued Sumiton, its Police Chief Terry Burnett, and Officers Patrick Ragsdale and the Estate of Christopher Daugherty, in Federal Court.
The complaint states: “On or about April 2, 2011, Sumiton police officers Ragsdale and Daugherty came onto the property on which Linda Carroll lived in pursuit of Jacob Hicks, her minor son, for traffic violations he allegedly committed riding a motorcycle nearby.
“Also present was Tony Patrick Hicks, Carroll’s older son.”
“Officer Daugherty twice asked Carroll where the motorcycle was, and Carroll twice told Daugherty the motorcycle would be put up. Daugherty then asked Carroll where Jacob was, and Carroll truthfully told Daugherty she did not know.
“Daugherty then placed Carroll under arrest. He charged her with both obstructing governmental operations and interfering with the arrest of Hicks (resisting arrest).
“This arrest was without probable cause. Carroll told Daugherty the truth and did not commit any crime, and Daugherty had no basis for believing Carroll committed any crime.
“After telling Carroll she was under arrest, Daugherty threatened Carroll with a Taser.
“When Tony Patrick Hicks yelled at Daugherty for threatening his mother with a Taser, Ragsdale arrested Hicks.
“After cuffing Hicks and placing him in a patrol car, Ragsdale sprayed him with pepper spray and shut him in the patrol car.
“In the car Hicks choked and burned and feared he would die.
“Ragsdale, and later Daugherty and Officer David Wade, did nothing to alleviate his suffering. The officers did not open a window or turn on the air conditioning or decontaminate Hicks.
“These three officers allowed Hicks to suffer for an extended period of time.
“Sometime after Carroll and Tony Patrick Hicks were arrested, Jacob Hicks came out of the woods on foot, screamed at officers, and fled back into the woods.
“Daugherty pursued Jacob Hicks and eventually found him face down on the ground. When Jacob Hicks tried to run again, Daugherty shot Jacob with the Taser.
“Daugherty then cuffed Hicks. After standing Hicks up, Daugherty Tased Hicks a second time for no legitimate reason.”
The family seeks punitive damages for civil rights violations, excessive force, unlawful seizure, and deliberate indifference to medical needs.
They are represented by Henry Sherrod III of Florence, Ala.
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