A Killeen police officer used excessive force in a March 2011 public intoxication arrest, a federal jury ruled Tuesday, but jurors said Officer Givon Emeana was not trying to violate the constitutional rights of Brian Tobias Stanley during the incident.
Stanley filed a civil complaint Nov. 16, seeking $75,000 for injuries in connection with his March 24, 2011, arrest.
Judge Walter S. Smith awarded Stanley nothing in the civil case Tuesday.
Jurors watched video of Stanley sitting in the back of a patrol car, Stanley’s attorney, Jason J. Bach, said. While Stanley’s right foot was lodged under a board beneath the front seat, Emeana allegedly yanked his left leg from the driver’s side. The force injured Stanley’s legs, tore his right MCL and sprained his right ACL.
Defense attorney Stuart Smith said Stanley kicked at Emeana, who responded by grabbing his leg.
“The video is from the outside of the car,” he said. “You can see the officer outside the vehicle and you can see him jerk back like someone’s kicking at him.”
Bach disputed the allegation. “When you look at the video, that doesn’t add up.”
While the jury declared the officer used excessive force, it also decided Emeana had an “objectively reasonable” belief that he was not violating Stanley’s rights.
“The jury verdict appears to be contradictory,” Bach said. “We don’t think it was possible for the jury to find he used excessive force and it was objectively reasonable.”
Representing the city of Killeen, Smith was happy with the outcome.
“We’re pleased to have prevailed,” he said. “(But) I don’t think (Emeana) used excessive force.”
Stanley sought monetary damages for pain, emotional distress, medical expenses, and loss of community, income and benefits, his court complaint stated.
Within 30 days, Bach said he plans to appeal the verdict or file a motion to set it aside.
Contact Brian Bradley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7567