Last Monday, 19-year-old Shane Bailey of Dittmer filed suit in Missouri's Eastern District. He alleges that Jefferson County Sheriff deputies used "excessive force against" him last spring by slamming his head against a wall (which was so bad, it required stitches), and that the duty nurse denied him treatment for this wound.
This all went down on the afternoon March 13, 2012, when the teenager, even by his own account, was having a very bad day.
According to the deputy's incident report, Bailey was at a friend's
house where he became "enraged" about girlfriend issues, then kicked out
the windshield of his own truck and punched in the side mirror. He
then took off in his truck eastbound on Highway 30. But he ran out of gas, so he pulled onto a
grassy area off the highway.
Deputy Don Feltmann responded and
noted that Bailey's hand "was cut and had been bleeding," but did not
note any other wounds. (Remember that detail!)
deputy reported that Bailey stunk of booze and even 'fessed up to
having drunk some vodka (which Bailey now denies, according to his
attorney, Jim Schottel, Jr.
But Bailey failed the horizontal
gaze test, Deputy Feltmann reported, so the kid was arrested for minor in
possession. He resisted, so Feltmann took him to the ground to be handcuffed.
The young man was driven to the Jefferson County jail in
Hillsboro, where -- according to a second incident report by deputy supervisor
Robert Young -- he was placed into a cell, but not before "grabbing his
crotch and saying to a deputy, 'Do you want some?'"
odor of marijuana soon began to float from the cell where Bailey had been, the report says, so deputies Timothy Davis and Andrew Godi pulled Bailey into a shower to be searched.
The young man
exhibited an "aggressive manner," the report says, so Davis
"immediately began administering soft hand control technique and began
attempting to control Bailey's movement."
Bailey describes this moment in very different terms:
Plaintiff was placed face against a wall when Defendant Davis and Defendant Godi pulled Plaintiff's head back, then slammed the front of Plaintiff's head against the wall. Plaintiff's head was cut open and began to bleed. Defendant Davis and Defendant Godi then pulled Plaintiff back from the wall and slammed Plaintiff's whole body against the wall.
Bailey was then pepper-sprayed.
The incident report then says, in a very tortured sentence,
I then had the on-duty nurse check Bailey's forehead as it began bleeding after he was pepper sprayed and showered from a previous injury he sustained from the call Deputy Feltmann had originally arrested him for.
Previous injury from running out of gas? Wait a second -- Feltmann never wrote a word about any bleeding forehead in that original report, remember? He only wrote about an injured hand.
Now, we're not legal experts here at Daily RFT
, but it seems like the JeffCo deputies may be trying to cover up bashing a kid's head against the wall.
You could argue that this 18-year-old was acting like a jerk to law enforcement officers. If the reports are accurate, then yes, he was.
But we hold our law enforcement officers to a higher standard. Should we do so in this case, too?
Here's the complaint, and below that, links to the incident reports. Bailey v. Jeff Co DeputiesBailey incident report #1.Bailey incident report #2
It's pretty common for a man taken into custody to accuse cops of roughing him up, but this kid seems to have a compelling case -- and has chosen to pursue it in federal court.