Publisher’s note: This lawsuit, filed the Eastern District of United States Court, has graphic images embedded into the filing. WLAF is choosing not to publish those images due to their inflammatory nature.
KNOXVILLE, TN (WLAF)- A Michigan man has filed a $25 million lawsuit against Campbell County and police officers no longer employed by the county.
Nathan Ling is alleging he suffered police brutality at the hands of Campbell County Sheriff’s Department employees after his arrest in June 2019.
Ling names Justin Crabtree, Dakota Williams, Sean Brown and Joshua Miller as the aggressors. Crabtree and Brown are no longer employed with the sheriff’s department; Williams is on leave and, with the exception of Miller, all are facing a criminal indictment stemming from the alleged assault.
In the suit, Ling’s attorneys, of the Garza Law Firm, reserve the right to add others to the lawsuit in the event they are discovered. Currently, there is one corrections officer seen on the video stills from that night who hasn’t been identified, according to the federal court filing.
The night he was arrested, Ling, now 19, and two others were found in a stolen car in LaFollette following a 911 call. As police investigated that call, they learned that Ling was wanted in his home state of Michigan on outstanding felony charges. Ling did resist arrest and became combative with paramedics and law enforcement, the court record said. Medical personnel had been called to the scene because Ling “fell and was injured” as he was resisting arrest.
After being cleared by paramedics, Ling was taken to the county jail.
During the course of being processed at the jail, Ling alleged he was repeatedly assaulted by Crabtree. Initially, Miller, Williams and Brown only watched the alleged assault but eventually participated, the suit said. Brown is further accused of spraying Ling “with some type of chemical agent” as he lay on the floor of the jail.
The officers are further accused of taking cell phone photos of Ling, and disseminating the photos, following the alleged assault.
Ling alleged he was left without medical care for seven hours. He received care when the shift changed, he said.
Brown further stands accused of photographing Ling as he was receiving medical care.
Within the lawsuit. Ling’s attorney outlined six injuries his client allegedly suffered that night. He claims these are life altering injuries.
Given the suit was filed in federal court, the Fourteenth Amendment of the U-S constitution is being invoked. Ling said that is the clause that protects him from suffering “excessive force” in a jail.
Last week, Sheriff Robbie Goins released a statement about the incident.
While he supports his officers that are acting in accordance with policy, Goins said stepping outside the established boundaries by using excessive force will not be tolerated in the sheriff’s department.
“A badge is not an authorization to behave any way you want,” he said in the statement. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED- 06/08/2020- 6AM)