Excessive force lawsuit filed against City of Huntsville, HPD officers

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - A man and his mother have filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Huntsville and a number of Huntsville Police Department officers, some of whom are not identified, for excessive force and false arrest in an October 2016 incident with Huntsville Police Department.

The lawsuit says Hilton Germany was arrested on false charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after he called the Huntsville Police Department for help. The suit also claims HPD officers assaulted his mother during the incident.

This is how the lawsuit describes the encounter:

  • Germany called the Huntsville Police Department in October 2016 to have his wife removed from their home after the two had a disagreement.
  • An HPD officer told Germany they could not remove his wife from the home. Germany then told the officer he could leave since he stated he could be of no assistance.
  • The officer began questioning Germany. Germany did not respond and went back inside the home. The HPD officer threatened to arrest Germany for disturbing the peace.
  • Germany's mother informed the officer that Germany suffered from PTSD as a result of his service in the Army.
  • Officers shoved his mother to get inside the home and told Germany they were going to arrest him.
  • An argument began and Germany asked the officers to leave and an officer then sprayed him with pepper spray. Germany passed out and woke up with an officer choking him. Germany told officers he could not breathe because he was in a chokehold. The officers punched him in the face, back, and ribs.
  • Paramedics arrived and sprayed solution in Germany's eyes. They wanted to take him to the hospital but officers refused and took him to the Huntsville Police Department.
  • Germany had numerous injuries including a black eye and a busted lip.
  • Germany asked to go to the hospital while at the police station but officers refused to take him.

The lawsuit alleges that HPD officers did not have a search warrant to enter the home and that there was no basis for the arrest.  Court records show Germany's arrest for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, but nothing beyond that. It appears both charges were dismissed. Madison County jail records include a mug shot of Germany after his arrest. It appears to show his face and one eye are swollen.

The City of Huntsville provided the following comment Thursday evening.

"It is City of Huntsville policy not to comment on pending litigation," Huntsville's spokesperson said. "In this matter, a lawsuit has been filed and allegations made. The City will evaluate the complaint and respond appropriately within the context of the litigation process."

We've also asked Germany's attorneys for a comment, but they have not responded Thursday, as of 5:15 p.m.