Lawsuit filed against Kirtland Hills police alleges excessive use of force

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KIRTLAND HILLS - A Mentor man who claims Kirtland Hills Police verbally and physically abused him is now taking legal action against the department.

According to lawsuit filed this week Thomas Adams, 45 at the time of his arrest August 19, 2016, states police falsely arrested him using excessive force, malicious prosecution and imprisonment.

In the dashcam video released of the incident you can hear the officer say "stop, stop resisting or you will be tased."

The lawsuit was filed against Adams' arresting officer, the department chief and the department as a whole. The civil rights complaint states a demand for a trial by jury.

Dashcam video shows Adams' driving just before he is pulled over. A police report and witness statements about the incident say they received several calls about a possibly impaired driver along I-90 and State Route 306. Adams was pulled over a short time later. The report states Adams eyes were "glassy and bloodshot" with a "strong odor of alcohol" coming from the vehicle.

Video of the incident shows the arresting officer directing Adams' where to stand and Adams refusing commands. Later in the video Adams is forced to the ground with his hands behind his back. Adams' attorney says he was slammed into the concrete.

"If you watch the video this officer while he was on top of my client, my client laying on his belly, rammed my clients head and face into the concrete," said attorney Thomas DeBacco during a phone interview.

In Adams' booking photos there is a noticeable cut on his forehead although it's unclear in the dashcam video how Adams received the injury.

DeBacco argues his client was not drunk or resisting arrest, despite being arrested and charged for both offenses. Kirtland Hills Police would not comment on the lawsuit. DeBacco says the next court date could be sometime in March.

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