Black Ohio man sues city of Columbus over police use of force

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 18, 2017 3:10 PM

(Reuters) - A black Ohio man is suing the city of Columbus and some of its police officers, alleging they used excessive force against himself and other African-Americans.

The civil-rights lawsuit claims that Columbus officers punched, kicked, verbally abused and used a Taser on Timothy Davis, 31, without justification or provocation after approaching him while he shopped in a convenience store on Sept. 1.

The officers were trying to arrest Davis for an outstanding warrant, Columbus police spokeswoman Denise Alex-Bouzounis said on Monday in an email.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio on Sunday.

"It would be inappropriate for us to comment on pending litigation involving this and any case," Alex-Bouzounis said in a telephone interview on Monday.

"Our officers are sworn to protect and serve, not to protect and serve those of a particular race, ethnic background, or socio-economic status," he added.

A number of police departments across the United States have been accused of excessive force and racially discriminatory conduct in recent years, fueling a public debate and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Davis was previously arrested by Columbus police, including for assaulting an officer last year and aggravated burglary in 2014, Alex-Bouzounis said.

The Columbus city attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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"Timothy sustained permanent and severe physical and psychological injuries as a result," the lawsuit said.

Officers Joseph Bogard, Matthew Baker and "other unknown officers" were named as defendants. It said they conspired to prepare false reports and inaccurately claimed Davis made them fear he would harm them.

Davis is seeking a jury trial, actual or compensatory damages, punitive damages and relief against city policies and practices that encourage the use of excessive and unreasonable force.

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Richard Chang)