A Louisiana cop was accused Wednesday in a federal lawsuit of not only pepper spraying a Black military veteran so severely that she fell face-first onto a concrete driveway but leaving the woman without medical care for so long she went blind in her injured eye.
A team of three attorneys named Winnfield police officer Justin Curry, Lt. Chuck Curry and Winnfield Police Chief Johnny Carpenter in the suit filed on behalf of Tanisha White, according to KNOE TV.
Winnfield city, which is about 170 miles northwest of Baton Rouge, was also named in the suit, as was the company who made the pepper spray gun Justin Curry used, and XYZ insurance company.
City authorities, however, have argued the officer only pepper sprayed the woman after she swung at him once and came at him a second time, KNOE reported.
In the suit, attorneys alleged that on Nov. 5, 2018, Justin Curry was standing five feet within White when he shot a Piexon USA pepper spray gun at her, hitting her inside and underneath her right eye.
The shot forced White’s collapse on the ground, and instead of calling an ambulance, Justin Curry called his father, Lt. Chuck Curry, attorneys said in the suit.
When Chuck Curry arrived, the father and son allegedly drove the woman to the hospital.
“This action constituted another delay and prevented Ms. White from receiving necessary immediate critical care,” attorneys said in the suit.
They also said White was unarmed at the time of the encounter and that the incident did not result in criminal charges against her.
Attorneys concluded in the suit that Justin Curry acted “without any legal provocation or justification” when he shot the department issued pepper spray gun with a spray projectile at 400 miles per hour.
They are also arguing he was too close to White when he fired the gun, according to the gun’s manual.
Carpenter is named in the suit because White’s legal team is arguing he never should have hired Justin Curry, due to a “history of ‘unecessary use of force’ based on a grievance filed during his employment at the Winn Correctional Center.”
White is requesting a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages, according to the suit.
Despite the lawsuit’s claims, a Winn Parish District Attorney cleared the officer of any criminal action and the Winnfield Police Chief said Curry used proper protocol in the incident, according to KNOE TV.
The violent encounter began after residents at a home on Pineville Street called police alleging White refused to leave, according to a district attorney’s report KNOE obtained earlier this year.
When Justin Curry arrived on the scene, he tried to arrest White but she allegedly swung at him, the district attorney said in the report.
That’s reportedly when the officer pushed her to the ground and she fell on the driveway, the district attorney said.
Still, White allegedly came at him again, and the officer pepper sprayed her, sending her onto the driveway again, when she was handcuffed, authorities said, according to KNOE.
Dedrick Moore, one of White’s lawyers, told the news station regardless of what led up to the incident, she should not have been injured.
“No matter what they say, we got to answer that question, and that question has to be answered in the court of law. Why did this individual suffer so much damage that she would lose sight in an eye and no arrest was made,” Moore told KNOE.