Man files lawsuit claiming excessive force used by Knox deputies

Man files lawsuit claiming excessive force used by Knox Co. deputies

Jason Acuff (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office) Jason Acuff (source: Knox County Sheriff's Office)
Dashcam video captures the deputies handcuffing Holt. Dashcam video captures the deputies handcuffing Holt.

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville couple is suing two Knox County Sheriff's deputies in federal court, claiming they used excessive force during a 2011 traffic stop.

The complaint was filed against Knox County and deputies Anthony Rathbone and Jason Acuff.

In the suit, William Holt claims the deputies used excessive force and caused permanent injuries.

"He was pulled over primarily because his lights were out he was riding with his wife and a juvenile friend," said Philip Lomonaco, the attorney for William Holt and his wife, Rhonda.

In the video, the officers tell William Holt to sit in front of the car.

According to Knox County Sheriff's Officer Anthony Rathbone's statement in a court document, deputies detain Holt's wife to perform field sobriety tests.

Rathbone claims the man then got up, resisted and did not put his hands behind his back when asked.

Holt's attorney said he was subdued, but the excessive force continued.

"They started beating him with their fists. They tazed him a couple of times and one officer put his knee on his head," said Lomonaco.

Lomonaco said Holt screamed in pain as the handcuffs were put on.

"Then they jerked him up by his hands behind his back, which is an improper way to lift up a suspect. They forcefully slam his face into the hood of the car," said Lomonaco.

Lomonaco said Holt's finger was then pulled back and Rathbone and Acuff applied handcuffs.

"They were the ones that applied the handcuffs which ended up with carpel tunnel injuries," said Lomonaco. "He's already has surgery on one wrist and he's scheduled for surgery on the other wrist."

Lomonaco said during the arrest several other injuries occurred.

According to court documents, Knox County officials denied that Holt was brutally assaulted and tazed without reason.

Officer Rathbone also denies the allegations. Officer Acuff still has to be served.

Holt's attorney is seeking compensation for pain and suffering and the cost of medical expenses. A monetary amount has not yet been determined.

The Knox County Sheriff's Office said they will not comment on an open case.

Following the traffic stop, Holt was charged with a DUI and resisting arrest. His wife was charged with public intoxication.

A judge dropped the DUI and public intoxication charge. Holt's attorney said he will fight the charge for resisting arrest.

This incident is not the first time Knox County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Acuff's come under fire for his behavior during a traffic stop.

In October of 2011, he was demoted from a patrol officer to a corrections officer for allegedly being involved in making a driver play 'dizzy bat' to get out of some of the tickets.

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