Man allegedly dumped out of wheelchair in jail refiles suit against Justus, others

Ann Knef Feb. 26, 2008, 7:00am

An East St. Louis man who claims he was dumped out of his wheelchair and physically thrown into a cell while being booked at the St. Clair County jail on Aug. 8, 2004, has refiled a complaint.

Cleothus Boyd claims a previous lawsuit filed Aug. 7, 2006, was voluntarily dismissed without prejudice on Feb. 20, 2007.

Having hired new attorneys, John S. Wallach and Suzanne M. Hardin of the Law Office of John S. Wallach in St. Louis, Boyd makes nearly identical claims in the new suit, but adds as a defendant, "Deputy John Doe, believed to be Deputy Clayton."

St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl J. Justus and the Sheriff's Department are also named as defendants.

According to Boyd's complaint, he was arrested in East St. Louis on Aug. 8, 2004, and transported to the county jail.

"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 states.

Boyd, who claims he has incurred $17,000 in medical expenses as a result of the incident at the jail, is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $100,000, plus all costs of the suit.

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.

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