AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – A local police department and three of its officers are named in a federal lawsuit after a video of an arrest from October 2018 went viral.
The video shows Akron police officers Natalie Tassone and David Rouse first tasering and then wrestling with Patrick King on Para Avenue.
Speaking with Fox 8 News for the first time since the incident, King says he was walking home from a nearby market when the officers blocked his path and asked for identification. He says the incident quickly escalated into what is seen on the home video.
“I got two houses away from my house and all of a sudden cops pull up, asked me my name. Next thing I know I’m on the ground tased,” said King.
King was originally charged with resisting arrest and several other charges that have since been dropped. He pleaded no contest to the resisting arrest charge.
On Friday, his attorney, Eddie Sipplen, filed a federal lawsuit claiming the arrest violated King’s fourth amendment right against unlawful searches and seizures.
“At the end of the day, Patrick did nothing wrong. He’s allowed to walk in his neighborhood without being detained or stopped by the police who have no rational basis to even entertain it. They didn’t suspect him of committing a crime, having a weapon or any of that. No articulable, reasonable suspicion that would lead to probable cause,” said Sipplen.
The lawsuit also names Officer Ryan McPherson, who video shows arriving at the scene later and then proceeding to deliver more than 30 blows to King’s trunk as he was still on the ground.
“King did not present a threat to the safety of any of the defendant officers or to any other persons,” the lawsuit claims, calling the officers’ response excessive and unreasonable.
“I remember distinctly turning this way and a boot hit me and that’s pretty much it. I turned my head and that’s all I remember,” King told Fox 8 News on Friday.
Sipplen claims Officer Tassone has been involved in previous cases that have accused her of being aggressive.
“There are a couple of cases that came out of the ninth district that stated her stop and detaining techniques were illegal and in violation of the citizens constitutional right from unwarranted searches and seizures. And, the thing is, she is still doing this,” said Sipplen.
The suit further claims that body-worn camera video from the officers themselves show them conspiring to create a story to justify their actions, then falsifying reports.
“In the intervening period between the beating and tasering, defendant officers jointly prepared and/or conspired with one another to prepare false, misleading and incomplete official reports and to give false, incomplete and misleading versions of the events to their supervisors and to the public,” the lawsuit alleges.
The suit also claims King suffered and continues to suffer lasting injuries, as well as other emotional and economic damages, as a result of the incident.
“We can’t undo the harm that has been done to Patrick, so what we are seeking is monetary damages that will send a message to the City of Akron that says, ‘look, you need to better train your police officers,'” said Sipplen.
Fox 8 has reached out to the City of Akron for a response and has not yet heard back.