An Atlanta man filed a lawsuit against the Atlanta Police Department for an April 2019 incident that left him with a broken ankle.
Attorneys for Tyler Griffin filed a lawsuit against officers Donald Vickers and Matthew Abad and the APD on June 15. The suit claims Griffin was injured after Vickers and Abad pulled him over on April 5, 2019.
The officers reportedly followed Griffin in an unmarked car and did not flash their lights. Griffin noticed he was being trailed and pulled into a driveway to see if the car would pass him by. While he waited, the officers stopped and Abad approached the vehicle with his service weapon drawn. Abad’s body camera captured part of the encounter on video.
He ordered Griffin out the car and refused to answer when the confused driver asked why he was being pulled over. When Griffin was out, Abad put a hand on his shoulder and began questioning him. Griffin — seemingly by reflex — brushed the hand away. Seconds later, Vickers started running and tackled Griffin, who screams as they hit the ground.
“You don’t swipe my hand from me,” Abad shouted at Griffin. The blow left Griffin with a broken ankle. Despite his cries, the officers made Griffin stand up and walk.
“Oh God. Oh my God. Help me, please,” Griffin said. “Take the pain away!”
Instead of rendering aid, the officers laughed and told Griffin he was acting like a “little girl.”
His injury was so severe he had to undergo surgery so a doctor could install a plate and ten screws into his ankle. Vickers gave an unusual explanation for the laughter.
“We’re laughing because you fell pretty hard after pushing an officer, man. I find that funny,” Vickers said at one point.
The video did not show Griffin pushing anyone. Jeb Butler, one of his lawyers, believes the comment was the beginning of a cover-up.
“This was a police officer on a power trip with his buddies trying to cover it up afterward,” Butler said in a press release.
Griffin was charged with DUI even though the officers didn’t perform a sobriety test. In the video, Abad told Griffin he “stinks like alcohol.”
Griffin doesn’t want to be in the public eye but felt obligated to share his story to protect others.
“I never wanted to be in this situation,” said Griffin. “I don’t like public attention. But I don’t want this to happen to anybody else, so I’m telling my story.”