(CN) – Police officers in Opa-Locka, Fla., threatened and roughed up a juvenile after wrongly arresting him for a robbery he did not commit, the man claims in court.
In a complaint filed last week, Virgil Woodson say he was a minor when he was arrested on June 6, 2011, by defendant Officer H. Payoute.
Woodson says he was taken to the city of Opa-Locka police station, where he was denied his Miranda rights and interrogated by three police officers about the burglary of which he’d been accused.
He says throughout the interrogation, he repeatedly denied any involvement in the robbery, but when he was asked why he was then on probation, and his answer was “robbery,” Woodson said things immediately grew worse.
“While still handcuffed,” he says, one of the officers grabbed him, dragged him out of the room, and took him to a locker room, where another officer stuck a service revolver in Woodson’s mouth while “stating ‘so you like robbing people, huh?’ ‘Tell me the truth or I will kill you.’”
Woodson says he “started crying and begging for his life.”
At this point a third officer allegedly punched him in the stomach, slapped him and ordered him to his knees. The officer then climbed on a chair and jumped on Woodson, the complaint says.
The officers then dragged him back into the room where his questioning had begun.
“Plaintiff was then given a cup of water and told that he was okay and that he was going to live and that he should not have committed the robbery,” the complaint says.
After reviewing the state, the state attorney’s office in Miami, Fla. dismissed all charges against Woodson.
He alleges that prior to the physical attack committed by defendants, they had a history of misbehavior, but their actions were ignored by the Opa-Locka police department.
Woodson seeks compensatory damages on claims of assault and battery and civil rights violations for use of excessive force and failure to intervene.
He is represented by Roderick Vereen from Miami, Fla.
The Opa-Locka city attorney and chief of police did not respond to a request for comment.
Originally published by the Courthouse News Service
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