On September 7, 2017, Piccuta Law Group, LLP filed a new lawsuit alleging that police officers at a Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona used excessive force on a former veteran who was there to obtain PTSD medication. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court of Arizona and is entitled Derek Hathaway v. Joshua Fister, Et Al. (Case #2:17-CV-03048).
The lawsuit alleges that federal law enforcement officers used unnecessary force on the firm’s client after he was arrested and in custody. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges as follows:
After the door to the holding cell was opened, two officers, Defendants, Joshua Fister and Dominic Lopez, took a hold of Plaintiff’s upper body from behind and ran him head and face first into the back of the holding cell. After forcefully pressing him against the back wall, the two officers then slammed him to the hard floor of the holding cell which aggression and force. As a result, Plaintiff sustained an approximate 2 inch gash/laceration to his forehead resulting in permanent scarring. Plaintiff also sustained a complete left ACL tear and multiple tears of his meniscus requiring a complete ACL reconstruction surgery.
After Plaintiff was on the floor with his head gushing with blood, two other officers joined in. One of the officers involved choked Plaintiff by placing his hands around his throat until he could no longer breathe. Plaintiff was then “hog-tied” and left on the floor until medical attention could be rendered.
At no time, during the events described above or after, did Plaintiff resist any officer, strike any officer, threaten any officer or take any other action that could be construed as aggressive or non-compliant. The actions of the officers were unprovoked, unreasonable, unnecessary, uncalled for and malicious. The officers used excessive force on Plaintiff while he was in custody and while his arms were handcuffed behind his back. At the time of the attack, at least five officers were present, no crime was being committed and Plaintiff was not a flight risk.
The law limits the ability of an individual to sue a federal employee in their individual capacity for violations of constitutional rights. Unlike state government employees who can be sued in their individual capacity for violations of constitutional rights, federal government employees may only be sued in their individual capacity in limited scenarios. These scenarios are recognized by Federal case law. The circumstances include the use of excessive force by federal law enforcement officers.
The Piccuta Law Group, LLP pursues both state and federal law enforcement officers in civil actions when the conduct of those individuals violates the civil and constitutional rights of the firm’s clients. If you or a loved one was the victim of a law enforcement officer abusing their authority, contact the Piccuta Law Group today to discuss your case.