A federal lawsuit accuses two Elizabeth Borough, Pennsylvania, police officers of using excessive force on a suspect in their custody in 2015.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, Jan. 4, states that police officers Garrett Kimmel and Dan Verno assaulted 21-year-old Joshua Brooks while he was already in custody and shackled. The borough and the police department also are named in the suit.
According to the lawsuit, Brooks was arrested and in the police station on a charge of heroin possession on April 17, 2015. The tussle began after Brooks allegedly refused to sit down after Kimmel commanded him to do so. Video footage of the incident also came out Wednesday and shows Kimmel wrestling with Brooks, who appears to be shackled to the bench and has his arm in a cast.
Attorney Todd Hollis, who is representing Brooks, tells CBS Pittsburgh’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.”
Hollis said that Kimmel also choked and punched Brooks while using his forearms and knees to hold him down. The footage then shows Verno enter the room after apparently hearing the ruckus. Verno separates the two men, then pulls out a taser, which he uses on Brooks.
After the police station incident, the officers filed up to 30 charges against Brooks, including assaulting an officer and resisting arrest, CBS Pittsburgh reported. However, the state dropped all but the drug possession charge. Brooks is serving probation for that charge as his federal lawsuit proceeds.