Excessive force lawsuit filed against KPD officers seeks $4 million in damages

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A man is seeking $4 million in damages for an arm injury and “mental anguish” stemming from a May 2019 DUI arrest.

Court documents filed by Raymond A. Taylor‘s attorneys a year after the incident state Taylor had suffered from the “brutal and barbaric treatment by KPD officers” in the incident involving the man’s arrest that occurred the night of May 3, 2019, in a traffic stop.

Taylor was later taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center by Knoxville Police for evaluation, where he was treated for a fractured arm and other abrasions, bruising, lacerations and acute pain alleged to have stemmed from the incident.

The traffic stop

KPD’s Arrest Report: On Friday, May 3, 2019, just after 9:30 p.m. KPD Officer (Christopher Mark) Brooks conducted a traffic stop in the 2500 block of Magnolia Avenue after observing a driver, later identified as Taylor, allegedly speeding.

Arresting documents state when the officer approached the vehicle, he noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from (Taylor), who also appeared to have slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. The officer asked to see (Taylor)’s identification, and if there were any weapons in the vehicle, but told him not to reach for them if there was.

Taylor then reached under his seat and pulled out a large knife. The officer then pointed his weapon at the defendant and removed the knife from Taylor’s hand. The knife was then thrown to the ground and Taylor was removed from the vehicle and placed in handcuffs.

After Taylor was walked to the officer’s patrol car, he attempted to pull away from the officer’s control. The officer then placed Taylor on the ground to gain better control. Taylor did not have insurance on his vehicle and the vehicle was towed from the scene. While officers were conducting an inventory of the vehicle, a half-empty bottle of Tvarscki Vodka was found in the passenger seat.

After Taylor was taken to UT Medical Center for evaluation, officers found 4.1 grams of marijuana in his front pants pocket.

Knoxville Police Report

Taylor was charged with speeding, first offense DUI, violating Tennessee’s financial responsibility laws, resisting arrest, an open container violation, and simple possession.

Taylor’s suit against KPD: On Friday, May 3, 2019, a little after 9:30 p.m. KPD officer Brooks was allegedly handling a domestic dispute on East Magnolia Avenue when he spotted a beaten up old pick-up truck passing by in the oncoming direction and “quickly and inexplicably got into his cruiser in pursuit.”

Other than Officer Brooks’ alleged perception – with his naked eye – that the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed, there is no evidence the truck was speeding at all … upon making contact, Officer Brooks asked if Taylor had any weapons in the vehicle, to which Taylor replied “yeah” and reached for his sheathed knife to hand to the officer, handle-first, that’s when the officer told him “don’t reach” and to Taylor’s surprise, pointed his gun at his head.

He commanded Taylor to get out of his truck, which was hard for Taylor, a large-framed man, to comply due to being handicapped from a previous motorcycle accident. The suit goes on to allege that the officer grabbed Taylor’s crippled right arm and “obviously mangled right hand” and handcuffed him, despite Taylor’s yelling and telling the officer he was hurting him.

Raymond Taylor’s lawsuit

The suit goes on to offer a different version of the traffic stop and arrest of Taylor, who’s said to have suffered multiple injuries related to the incident.

In the claims brought against KPD, the suit picks out specific time stamps from the officer’s cruiser video that seem to differ from KPD’s arrest report.

Arm fracture, body slam

Taylor’s complaint also states that “Officer Brooks’s continuous jerking and pulling on the handcuffs resulted in a fracture to Mr. Taylor’s right humerus (his upper right arm). At that point, Officer Brooks pulled hard on the handcuffs, spun Mr.Taylor half-way around, and proceeded to body-slam Mr. Taylor face-first onto the hard pavement, barely out of view of the cruiser camera.

“Officer Brooks knew that by being handcuffed from behind, Mr. Taylor would be unable to brace himself or otherwise cushion himself from landing hard.”

KPD responds

“The Knoxville Police Department cannot comment on pending or on-going litigation. Additionally, there is also a pending criminal case from the May 2019 incident involving Mr. Taylor.”

Knoxville Police Department

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