PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A federal lawsuit was filed Wednesday against two Elizabeth Borough Police officers accused of using “excessive and unnecessary force” on a drug suspect already in police custody.
The incident happened back in April of 2015, but is just coming to light now because of the lawsuit and the release of surveillance video of the alleged assault by the attorney for the suspect.
Amy Wadas Reports:
Joshua Brooks, 21, was taken into custody on a charge of possession of suspected heroin.
While at the Elizabeth Police Station, the lawsuit claims Officer Garrett Kimmel became physically abusive to Brooks when he refused to sit down.
At the time, Brooks had one of his ankles shackled and had an arm in a cast. On a police video, Kimmel can be seen choking and punching Brooks, using his forearms, hands and knees.
Officer Dan Verno apparently hears the commotion, enters the room and pulls Brooks away from Kimmel, who then proceeds to use a Taser on Brooks.
Attorney Todd Hollis, representing Brooks, told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “The video is repulsive. It represents everything that’s bad in a police officer and it goes against everything most good cops stand for.”
After the altercation in the police station, the officers filed more than 30 charges against Brooks, including assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.
All the charges but one, drug possession, were dropped by the Commonwealth. Brooks pleaded guilty to the possession charge and was sentenced to probation.
Hollis said Brooks was upset and fearful of retaliation, but he wanted to go forward with the lawsuit.
Hollis said they are seeking to have a jury trial in the case. KDKA reached out to the Elizabeth Borough Police Department for reaction to the lawsuit, but no one responded to our inquiry.