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Virginia police officers accused of assaulting detainee

A Virginia college student who was arrested on drunken driving charges has filed suit against three sheriff's deputies, claiming they kicked and beat him in the jail while he remained handcuffed.

Now the 22-year-old man is seeking compensation in a $6 million lawsuit he filed in federal court in Roanoke, Virginia. The man said the physical violence occurred in Nov. 16, 2010, after he was booked in the jail, put in a cell and pushed to a metal bench.

The man said a jail official handcuffed him, and that he remained handcuffed when three deputies beat and kicked his head and back, according to the lawsuit. He said he broke a bone in his right hand and also suffered bruises and cuts on his head and back. Because he does not know the names of the deputies in the case, they simply are referred to as John Doe or Jane Doe in the lawsuit.

In the first case, the man was convicted of driving while drunk, spent 10 days in jail and paid a fine of $500, court records showed. According to the lawsuit, the three deputies tried to cover up their actions and that the sheriff's office refused to give the man access to records regarding the alleged assault.

People who have been arrested are expected to be afforded a certain degree of humanity when they are being held in custody. If what the man says is true, this is not humanity. It would be interesting to revisit his conviction to see if police extracted any information out of him while he was under duress.

Source: The Roanoke Times, "Roanoke deputies sued for $6 million over alleged assault," Laurence Hammack, June 15, 2012

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Ronald E. Smith, P.C.

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