Judge tosses Mississippi lawsuit claiming police brutality
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A judge has dismissed a federal lawsuit accusing two Mississippi police officers of false arrest and police brutality.
U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett issued a ruling Monday, writing that a family had failed to prove that two Hattiesburg police officers used excessive force during a domestic disturbance call in April 2013.
George Wade Jr. and the estate of his late father, George Wade Sr., sued last year, seeking money damages. They didn’t say how much they wanted.
They claimed officers Demetrius Breland and Narottam Holden acted improperly in arresting the two men, saying they broke the younger man’s leg and beat the older man “unmercifully.”
The officers say both men fought with them and they used only the force necessary to arrest them.
A lawyer for Wade Sr., a former law enforcement officer, wrote in court papers that the older man tried to intervene when he saw police knock his son to the ground. After Breland pepper sprayed the father, they had a scuffle inside the family home.
“The uncontroverted evidence shows that Wade Sr. was actively resisting arrest and that the officers engaged him with nothing but open-handed strikes, eventually grappling him to the ground and placing him in handcuffs,” Starrett wrote. “Under these circumstances, the force employed by Breland was not excessive or objectively unreasonable.”
The judge made a similar ruling regarding the younger man’s claims, saying Breland only knocked George Wade Jr. to the ground when he believed Wade Jr. was trying to resist him. Starrett said George Wade Jr.‘s testimony was never submitted into evidence, meaning he couldn’t consider it against the officers’ statements.
Starrett also ruled out claims of false arrest, noting both men were initially convicted in municipal court. A higher court overturned George Wade Jr.’s conviction, while his father died before an appeal could be decided.
Claims against the city and the officers in their official capacities were dismissed in March.
A lawyer for the Wades didn’t immediately respond Tuesday to an email seeking comment.