Lawsuit Against HPD Alleges Excessive Force, False Arrest, Assault by Officers
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A lawsuit filed against the City of Huntsville, two Huntsville Police Department officers and the officer who trained them alleges that two HPD officers used excessive force, falsely arrested, and assaulted a man.
It all started on Oct. 14, 2011 when Christopher LaFever noticed a vehicle sitting in his parking lot for an extremely long period of time, according to the suit. Concerned that the two people in the car were doing something illegal, LaFever asked the people in the car to leave, according to the lawsuit.
When the two men refused to leave, LaFever contacted Huntsville police, providing the dispatcher with the license plate number and requested an officer to come to his condominium complex.
According to the suit, a few minutes later an officer drove down the road but did not stop to investigate the vehicle. LaFever, armed with a taser, approached the vehicle again and demanded that the two men leave.
The two men identified themselves as officers who were conducting an investigation but were unable to convince LaFever that they were indeed police, alleges the suit. LaFever did not believe them because the dispatcher did not notify him that the two men were officers when he called in the license plate.
It was at this time, according to the suit, that the driver of the vehicle jumped out of the vehicle and informed LaFever that he was under arrest for a police investigation and attacked him. The passenger jumped out of the vehicle and joined the driver in an assault on LaFever, according to the suit.
The legal filing makes mention that at no time did the officers attempt to handcuff LaFever.
After being kicked by both men, LaFever was able to back away and use his taser in self defense on the officers, according to the suit. LaFever says the officers then drew their guns on LaFever.
The suit goes on to say LaFever’s wife jumped between him and the two officers and the officers lowered their weapons. The officers then used pepper spray on LaFever, his wife, and their child, alleges the suit.
The suit claims that LaFever was then refused medical treatment despite his complaints of pain and request for medical attention.
He was arrested and charged with three counts of Assault 2nd, Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest, and Obstructing Government Operations.
Both officers involved have not faced any reprimand connected to this case. The officer who trained them is also named in the suit for failure properly test and evaluate them.
The suit alleges the officers used excessive force on, falsely arrested, maliciously prosecuted, falsely imprisoned, assaulted and batteried LaFever. It also alleges that the officers were negligent, negligently supervised, and were not trained properly.
WHNT News 19 reached out to the City of Huntsville’s attorney for comment. City attorney Peter Joffrion had this to say, “I appreciate your interest, but as with all lawsuits filed against the City of Huntsville, we do not comment on them.”
Lawyers for LaFever also refused to comment on the lawsuit filed in federal court.
LaFever will face trial for his pending charges related to the incident. The case is scheduled back before a judge May 12, 2014.
WHNT News 19 is continuing to follow this breaking news story and will bring you the latest on-air and online here at whnt.com.