Jailed man sues Sheriff Justus

Steve Gonzalez Aug. 15, 2006, 9:02am

Mearl Justus

An East St. Louis man filed suit against St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl Justus and deputy John Doe claiming he was assaulted while in custody.

Cleothus Boyd's lawsuit alleges he was dumped out of his wheelchair and physically thrown into a cell while he was being booked on Aug. 8, 2004. Boyd had been arrested in East St. Louis and transported to the county jail.

Represented by Rodney Holmes of the Johnny Cochran Law Firm in St. Louis, Boyd is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $100,000, plus all costs of the suit

"Plaintiff was told to walk despite the fact that he was in a wheelchair as a result of a recent motor vehicle accident," the complaint filed Aug. 7 in St. Clair County states.

Boyd claims officers used excessive force by dumping him out of the wheelchair and physically dragging and throwing him into a cell, constituting more force than was absolutely necessary in order to complete the booking procedure.

According to the complaint, Boyd received injuries to his shoulder that resulted in the need for surgical procedures to correct the damage that resulted.

"Defendants acted intentionally, willfully, wantonly, maliciously, and in direct violation of the established policy of the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department," the complaint states.

He claims the deputies' actions were unreasonable and without justification and caused him to suffer great bodily pain and emotional distress and $17,000 in medical expenses.

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