MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) –A teenager whose arrest earlier this year was recorded and posted on social media has filed a civil rights lawsuit alleging a Minneapolis police officer punched him in the face, and police detained him without probable cause.
A video of his arrest and the subsequent outcry prompted Minneapolis police to open an internal investigation. The lawsuit seeks $75,000 in damages and names Officer William Gregory, accused of punching the teen, as well as the city and four John Does who were officers involved in the alleged violation.
Damareion McKizzie, who was 17 years old at the time, was working out at a gym near the 3200 block of James Avenue North on March 24, where officers had been dispatched to assist in apprehending carjacking suspects.
The lawsuit says that McKizzie made his way across the street “to see what was happening,” when Gregory blocked his path and shoved him. McKizzie did not react, and instead put his arms at his sides and stood still.
According to the complaint, other officers then pulled him in different directions, and Gregory ran at him from behind and “threw a violent punch at the back of McKizzie’s head.”
Gregory, who has six complaints in his record and no reprimands, punched McKizzie in the face before throwing him on the ground.
McKizzie was then thrown into the back of a police squad car, and the lawsuit says he was not told what he had done or why he was being detained. When asked if he had suffered any injuries, McKizzie responded that he had.
Then McKizzie was taken to the Juvenile Detention Center, where he stayed handcuffed for roughly 20 minutes before he was taken back out to a squad car. Then, he was strapped to a medical gurney and stayed at the hospital for approximately 30 minutes before he was taken back to the detention center. There, he was uncuffed for the first time in over an hour and a half.
The lawsuit claims McKizzie suffered “physical, mental and emotional pain,” and was deprived of his right to be free from excessive force. He was never charged with a crime.
The City Attorney’s Office has declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The Minneapolis Police Department faces an investigation by the United States Department of Justice as to whether it “engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force.”