Lawsuit accuses TPD officer of beating man

Published: Sep. 19, 2018 at 9:49 PM CDT
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The attorney suing the city of Topeka on behalf of Dominique White's family has filed another lawsuit for a man who claims an officer beat him.

Andrew Stroth, managing partner for Action Injury Law Group, filed the civil rights lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court. It names as defendants the city of Topeka and Topeka Police Officer Christoper Janes.

The lawsuit claims Timothy Harris, who is now age 35, was sitting in his car with his girlfriend January 23rd, 2018, when Janes approached and started questioning him. The lawsuit states Harris cooperated, but the officer told him he was being detained.

According to the lawsuit, Janes did not give an explanation for detaining Harris, but the booking report from that night shows Harris had a warrant out for violating probation in a misdemeanor drug possession and interference case.

The lawsuit alleges that when Harris stepped out of the car, the officer handcuffed his hands behind his back, then took him to the ground, put a knee in his back, repeatedly punched him in the face, and sprayed him with pepper spray.

According to the lawsuit, Harris had a bloody face and broken jaw.

Topeka Municipal Court records show Harris was found guilty of unlawful parallel parking, and interference with a law enforcement officer, but charges of disobeying a lawful police order and battery against an officer were dismissed.

The lawsuit makes two counts. The first states Janes used excessive force, violating Harris' constitutional right against unreasonable seizure and right to due process. The count states Janes acted "maliciously, wantonly, or oppressively, with the intent to cause injury."

The second count states the city does not properly train officers in use of force and detaining suspects.

Stroth makes similar claims in a lawsuit filed over the shooting death of Dominique White. White was killed by officers responding to a report of gunshots in September 2017. The Shawnee Co. District Attorney reviewed the White case and opted not to file criminal charges.

A city spokesperson told 13 NEWS the city does not comment on pending litigation.

Stroth said earlier in the week that he has also been asked to represent a man into whose apartment officers forced entry this month. The man said officers had no right to do so without a warrant. TPD says the officers were investigating a report of a disturbance with a woman being threatened, and when they approached the man's apartment, he slammed the door on them.