Police / Law Enforcement Misconduct

Maxwell v. Chillicothe Police Dept., et al., (2:15-cv-1381 S.D. Ohio, 2015) – Excessive Force

Plaintiff Barry Maxwell is a 52-year old disabled Veteran suffering from several mental and physical maladies. Plaintiff Maxwell’s physical disabilities include paralysis on the right side of his body from the waist up as a result of neck and spine injuries suffered in a 2008 motorcycle crash. Plaintiff Maxwell also suffers from partial paralysis on the right side of his face and in his right leg as a result of a mild stroke. On April 24, 2013, Chillicothe Police Officer Timothy Gay conducted a traffic stop of Mr. Maxwell for suspicion of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

Mr. Maxwell admitted to Officer Gay that he had been drinking alcohol prior to operating the vehicle. Officer Gay allowed Mr. Maxwell to lean on him as they walked approximately ten yards across a vacant parking lot to Chillicothe Police Officer William Anderson’s patrol cruiser. Maxwell required Gay’s assistance in walking both because of Mr. Maxwell’s level of intoxication and because of his physical disabilities.

Officer Gay had knowledge of Plaintiff Maxwell’s physical disabilities and difficulty ambulating because he had, earlier in the same day, interacted with Maxwell and witnessed Maxwell fall while attempting to take a seat in a motorized wheelchair.
After an extended period of time in the backseat of the patrol cruiser and after learning that his friend who was a passenger in the vehicle he was driving was also being arrested, Plaintiff Maxwell became belligerent and yelled several expletives at Officer Anderson.

Anderson exited the front driver’s seat of his police cruiser and walked around to the passenger-side backseat and opened the door.

Maxwell: Go ahead and spray a handicap. Anderson: Put your hands behind your back.
Maxwell: I’m paralyzed. Anderson: Nooo, you’re not.
Maxwell: I’m paralyzed. Anderson: Stop! Step out of the vehicle! Maxwell: I’m paralyzed.
Anderson: Step out of the vehicle or I’m going to drag you out of the vehicle!
Plaintiff: I am paralyzed. Anderson: Step out of the vehicle! Maxwell: Sir, I cannot . . . [.]
Anderson: Step out of the vehicle, right now! Last chance, step out of the vehicle!
Maxwell: Sir, sir, I am paralyzed. You better ask Skip. Anderson: Step, one more time, step . . .
Maxwell: I am paralyzed!

Anderson proceeded to then yank Maxwell from the backseat of the patrol cruiser by his neck. Anderson then slammed Maxwell to ground face-first with no regard whatsoever for Maxwell’s physical inability to break his fall or to brace himself. Maxwell, lying face-down, felt multiple individuals pinning him to the ground with their knees. Once Anderson had Maxwell on the ground, he yelled at Maxwell no less than five times: “put your hand behind your back!”; “put it behind your back!”; “do it now!”; “put that hand back here right now!” Each time Anderson ordered Maxwell to put his hand behind his back, Maxwell screamed out in agony, “I can’t!”

The officers’ actions, as detailed above, resulted in Maxwell requiring emergency surgery to repair seven (7) breaks in his paralyzed right shoulder. The physical damage caused by the actions of the Chillicothe Police officers required surgeons to use a plate, twelve (12) screws, and a cable to repair Maxwell’s injuries.

White v. Karnes, et al., (Franklin Co. Ct. of Common Pleas, 10-CVH-09-13341, 2010) – Negligence/Deliberate Indifference/Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Plaintiff Caleb T. White has Type 1 diabetes. Mr. White was sentenced in Franklin County Municipal Court to serve ten (10) days in the Franklin County Correctional Center for driving under the influence of a pain medication.

On March 19, 2009, at 9:20 a.m., Mr. White underwent an “Intake Receiving Screening” conducted by Nurse Lester, a nurse employed by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at the Franklin County Correctional Center, Jackson Pike location. During Mr. White’s intake receiving screening, he informed intake Nurse Lester that he was a Type 1 diabetic and was suffering from two bulged discs with spinal cord compression. In accordance with Franklin County Sheriff’s Office protocol, Mr. White also provided Nurse Lester with empty prescription bottles to confirm his current medication regimen. Mr. White further provided Nurse Lester with a signed and dated letter from his family physician, Dr. Michael Weiss, stating that Mr. White’s life would be at risk if he did not receive his medications, specifically the two types of insulin, promptly and on a timely schedule.

Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputies offered Mr. White several meals over the course of several days without providing him with timely, proper dosages of his diabetes medication, including his required insulin.

On March 22, 2009 at 8:30 p.m., Mr. White yelled out to a Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy for help. Mr. White could no longer stand or support himself. Mr. White vomited continuously. Franklin County Sheriff’s personnel transported Mr. White to the medical unit. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Nurse tested Mr. White’s blood glucose levels. Mr. White’s blood glucose levels registered at 438. Mr. White received 12 units of Humalog Insulin and 25 units of Lantus Insulin. This was the first time in nearly eighty-four hours that Mr. White had received both Humalog Insulin and Lantus Insulin. Franklin County Sheriff’s medical personnel placed Mr. White in a holding cell for observation. At 9:00 p.m., one-half hour later, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Nurse checked Mr. White’s blood glucose levels again. Mr. White’s blood glucose levels registered at 413. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Nurse requested that Mr. White provide a urine sample. The insulin injections were too late to be of any assistance to Mr. White. Franklin County Sheriff’s medical staff and personnel called for an ambulance to transport Mr. White to Grant Hospital.

Gray v. Kashubeck, et al., (2:11-cv-950, S.D. Ohio, 2011) – Deliberate Indifference

Plaintiff Kenneth Gray brings this civil rights action against employees of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office alleging that the FCSO maintains an official policy, practice or custom of deliberate indifference to the requirement that all inmates in their custody be tested for tuberculosis; that their failure to implement adequate policies and procedures regarding the screening and testing of inmates at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office’s two full service jails Franklin County Corrections Centers I and II (“FCCCI” and “FCCCII”); and that their failure to ensure that inmates who suffer from active tuberculosis disease be isolated and/or removed from the general population resulted in Mr. Gray contracting latent tuberculosis.

On or about the week of October 4, 2009, Mr. Gray was incarcerated, pending disposition of a felony charge in the “2-East-11” cellblock at FCCCII, under the custody and care of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. At the same time, another inmate was also placed in the same cellblock; this inmate disclosed to Mr. Gray that he had tuberculosis, that his condition was contagious, and that the Mr. Gray could contract tuberculosis from him.

Mr. Gray, who feared contracting tuberculosis, along with several other inmates alerted an FCSO Deputy and Nurse about the tuberculosis infected inmate and requested he be removed from the living area. The deputy and nurse refused to intervene and/or remove the infected inmate. The infected inmate remained on 2-East-11 for several more days before he was placed in the medical unit and segregated from the other inmates. As a result, Mr. Gray was exposed to the infected inmate for nearly three weeks before FCSO quarantined the inmate.

FCSO policy and procedure, as well as the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, require all inmates must be screened for tuberculosis within 14 days from their admission. It is believed that neither Mr. Gray nor the infected inmate nor the other inmates confined to the same living area at the time of the Mr. Gray’s confinement had been screened for tuberculosis.
Mr. Gray learned later after a transfer to another facility that he was infected with latent tuberculosis. As a result of contracting latent tuberculosis, Mr. Gray had to undergo nine months of treatment in which he was on a regimented medication schedule and had to have his blood drawn monthly to ensure his tuberculosis did not become active. For the remainder of his life, Mr. Gray remains at risk that his latent tuberculosis infection will develop into active tuberculosis.