On March 21, a Florence resident was sitting in his car charging his phone when six Round Rock police officers tried to arrest him, according to court documents. Intoxicated and outside of Rick’s Cabaret in Round Rock, William Slade Sullivan, 44, now is a quadriplegic after the officers’ “extremely aggressive use of force,” one of his lawyers said.
Sullivan is suing the city of Round Rock and the six police officers involved in the incident.
While the lawsuit, filed April 23 in federal court, does not specify the exact amount of damages, it states that Sullivan’s medical expenses are likely to exceed $10 million.
“Mr. Sullivan’s future is very grim,” Broadus Spivey, one of the lawyer’s representing Sullivan, said Friday. “He is still in the ICU.”
Round Rock spokesman Will Hampton said the city heard about the lawsuit April 25.
“We will be responding in an appropriate manner at an appropriate time,” he said.
Hampton said no disciplinary action was taken against the six officers being sued: N.J. Zoss, L.M. Osborn, B.B. Johnson, C.S. Mount, K.A. Mayo and A.P. Ballew.
The incident occurred early March 21 after Sullivan was drinking at Rick’s Cabaret, a strip club in Round Rock near the intersection of Interstate 35 and State Highway 45, according to the lawsuit.
Sullivan was a longtime “VIP customer,” and employees had taken Sullivan’s keys from him earlier in the evening with the intention of driving him home, but returned the keys so Sullivan could charge his cellphone and call a friend to take him to a nearby hotel, the lawsuit stated.
A Rick’s Cabaret security guard called Round Rock police, alerting them that an intoxicated Sullivan was entering his vehicle, the lawsuit stated.
Sullivan’s long-standing and disabling back condition was well known and visible to anyone who looked at him, the lawsuit stated. His handicap placard was displayed on his rearview mirror.
Sullivan’s back was injured while he was in the Navy, according to an Austin American-Statesman report.
Officers arrived on the scene around 3:37 a.m. March 21 to find Sullivan sitting in his car charging his phone. They pulled their weapons and began yelling, “Get out of the car,” the lawsuit said.
Before Sullivan was able to respond, he was forcefully pulled from his vehicle and slammed on the ground, causing injury to his back and spine, which resulted in quadriplegic paralysis, according to the lawsuit.
Sullivan was not able to speak and was breathing out of a ventilator last week, according to a Statesman report. His lungs also were filling with fluid.
The police report, which was included in the lawsuit, said officers responded to a report of an “intoxicated patron attempting to drive away from the establishment.”
Arresting officer Zoss obtained two arrest warrants for Sullivan for “interfering with the duties of a public servant and driving while intoxicated” after conducting a field investigation, the report stated.
Williamson County court records show Sullivan was charged with driving while intoxicated in January.
Sullivan’s lawyers’ requests for all police audio and video recordings related to the incident have been denied by the city and its attorneys, who said the case is under investigation.