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Conference approaches in suit against officers

February 6, 2013

The United States Northern District Court of Mississippi is proceeding this month with a lawsuit filed against two West Point police officers accused of assaulting and wrongfully arresting Clay County resident Gregory Brooks.
Brooks filed a lawsuit in September alleging that for no reason these two officers assaulted him and took him to jail after Brooks reportedly called officers out to his home to press charges against his sister for telephone harassment.
According to Brooks’ complaint, the first officer told Brooks he could not press charges against his sister since the officer found that it was Brooks who called his sister. Unpleased with this response, the officer was asked to leave Brooks’ home and allegedly pulled out of the driveway, parking in front of Brooks’ house. Brooks’ saw that the officer was likely calling for backup and said that moments later another officer arrived. He claims that the two officers then “banged” on his door, told him to step outside and stated that one officer grabbed him and tried forcibly to place Brooks’ hands behind his back. Brooks alleges at the same time the other officer “rushed” towards him “in an obvious attempt to knock” Brooks “to the ground.”
Brooks stated after he was placed in the back of a police unit he suffered an anxiety attack and had to be transported by ambulance to the hospital. He and his attorneys are asking the court for $500,000 in damages for the alleged assault and battery and the alleged false arrest and wrongful imprisonment.
The two officers are being sued in their individual capacity along with the city of West Point. Both officers and their attorneys denied these allegations. In their defense response filed in November the officers denied that Brooks suffered any injuries as a result of the incident and denied all allegations, admitting that they knocked on Brooks’ door. They also admitted that Brooks was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and simple assault on a law enforcement official.
According to their defense, the incident and any damages resulted from Brooks’ actions, and the officers believes they are in no way responsible and should not be held liable. The defense attorneys state that an award or punitive damages should be barred since they believe any actions the officers took were not malicious, reckless or negligent.
Defense attorneys asked the court to dismiss the case with prejudice, though Brooks is requesting a jury trial.
In just a few days the court will conduct a Telephonic Case Management Conference through which Brooks’ attorneys will have to discuss elements of the case, such as identifying the principal factual and legal issues in the claim, indicating whether or not all parties consent to jurisdiction by a magistrate judge, determining the plan for the first phase of discovery, determining a date for a settlement conference or mediation and other elements.
A jury trial has not yet been set in this matter.

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