Man sues law enforcement officers, cities over arrest in Centre
CHEROKEE Co., Ala. (WBRC) - A man sued three Alabama municipalities and several law enforcement officers following his arrest in Centre on September 4, 2022.
Terry Hawkins, Jr., 33, of Leesburg, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court claiming violation of his constitutional rights and alleging excessive force during his arrest.
The video of Hawkins’ arrest outside Easy Street in Centre was posted and shared on social media.
According to the court filing, Hawkins claims one of the arresting officers and one of the deputies were drinking before the arrest at Easy Street.
Hawkins said he was tased without provocation and punched during the arrest.
The court record reads, Police officers and deputies on the scene failed to stop the repeated use of unconstitutional force visited upon Plaintiff Hawkins.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office says the man on the ground in the video was a disorderly conduct suspect and said he was resisting arrest and would not allow deputies to handcuff him.
The Cherokee County Sheriff says the suspect had already resisted a taser twice, before the video started - and that the elbow strikes to the suspect are a technique taught at the police academy.
The Cherokee County Sheriff says they’re investigating this internally, which is protocol. An outside agency is also investigating.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said they had no comment because of the pending litigation but they previously shared a complete statement with WBRC regarding the incident:
During the very early morning hours of Sunday, September 4th, 2022, 911 calls were made regarding a fight at Easy Street Bar and Restaurant in Centre. Centre Police on the scene requested assistance and personnel from Leesburg Police and the Sheriff’s Office responded. The altercation had moved to the parking lot and law enforcement officers were attempting to arrest the two primary individuals involved.
Leesburg Police and the Sheriff’s Office arrested, Jason Mallett, 44 of Leesburg, and charged him two counts of harassment (toward a law enforcement officer), with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Mallett was transported to the Cherokee County Detention Center by the arresting deputy.
The other individual, Terry Hawkins, Jr., 33 of Leesburg, involved had resisted and was placed on the ground by police. While on the ground, Hawkins continued to resist and would not allow officers to handcuff him. A Centre officer deployed a Taser twice during the time he was resisting arrest. Hawkins continued to resist after the Taser deployment and an off-duty deputy deployed three elbow strikes, a technique officers are trained in the academy, to Hawkins and he then complied and was cuffed. Centre Police arrested Hawkins for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and transported him to the Centre Police Department.
On-scene law enforcement requested additional assistance three times during the altercation, but all available on-duty law enforcement officers were already at the location.
As part of normal Sheriff’s Office protocol, an internal investigation has been underway since the incident occurred and an outside agency is also investigating the use of force.
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