The family of a Black teenager from Grand Rapids, Michigan, has filed an excessive force lawsuit against police who allegedly left the teen with multiple injuries after an arrest.
The New York Daily News reports the 16-year-old was hit with a flashlight by Officer Sean McCamman during an arrest in June 2014. The lawsuit refers to the then 15-year-old as “D.B.” He was placed under arrest after he and four friends ran away from Officers McCamman, Nathan Mead, and Peter Thompson, who were responding to a call of a man in possession of a gun.
After capturing the teen, McCamman allegedly used “deadly force” by punching and hitting him in the head with the bulb of his flashlight. D.B. was charged with resisting and obstructing a police officer and carrying a concealed weapon, but he was unarmed at the time of the arrest.
According to the suit, the officers claimed a gun was found near D.B., but in March, a judge dismissed the case after prosecution failed to bring solid evidence against the teen. The family’s attorney, Keeley Heath, tells the Daily News the gun charge was dropped two months later.
Attorneys said the teen has suffered from severe headaches, muscle spasms, nausea, vomiting, and speech problems since the arrest. He also required stitches in his head.
His mother, Natalie Thompson, released a statement saying her son’s high school graduation has been delayed and he is no longer able to play sports he previously engaged in.
NY Daily News reports:
“My son’s injuries are so severe that he will never fully heal mentally, physically, or emotionally,” Thompson said. “He, myself, and our family are devastated by the abusive beating that a minor child endured.
The officers involved have no concept of the severity of their actions. No one is above the law. We are all accountable for our actions.”
Part of the family’s lawsuit questions the city for lack of training. It also claims Mead, Thompson, and McCamman provided false information to the police about the incident. Heath called the actions of the Grand Rapids Police Department racist, noting this isn’t the first time something similar has happened in the department.
Other details of the lawsuit, including damages demanded, haven’t been released. Steve Guitar, a spokesman for the city of Grand Rapids, tells Michigan Radio there will be no comment on the case until a full investigation is completed.