Police Department: Hammond Police Department
The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, alongside Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP, is representing Mr. Timothy Watkins, a Black man who was severely injured during the course of his arrest on a minor shoplifting charge. During his arrest, Mr. Watkins—who was unarmed, fully cooperative, and posed no threat or risk of flight—pleaded with the arresting officer to handcuff him from the front rather than the back to avoid exacerbating his severe sciatica. The officer callously and unjustifiably ignored Mr. Watkins’ pleas, and he was left handcuffed in a twisted, bent-over position for over 30 minutes while he was driven to the police station. As he had feared, this acutely aggravated his medical condition, causing debilitating long-term pain that has left him unable to perform even basic household chores. He also suffered emotional distress and persistent fear arising out of the incident.
The complaint charges the arresting officer, as well as six bystander officers who failed to intervene, with using excessive force in violation of Mr. Watkins’ Fourth Amendment rights, as well as with various state claims including assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Claims are also brought against the city of Hammond, Louisiana for failure to train, supervise and discipline its officers with respect to the use of excessive force. The complaint seeks damages for the physical, financial, and emotional harm that Mr. Watkins suffered from the use of excessive force against him.
The defendants in the case are:
- Officer Anthony Fox, officer with the Hammond Police Department
- Six John Doe officers with the Hammond Police Department
- The City of Hammond, Louisiana