CLEVELAND — An Ohio man has sued a former Cleveland police officer whom he says beat him after he asked for his badge number.
Jovon Warren, 26, who lives in suburban Euclid, filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Cleveland on May 8 claiming that now retired Patrolman Michael Tankersley left him with lasting physical and psychological damage because of the May 2012 beating.
The lawsuit also names Tankersley’s partner, Patrolwoman Amy Carraway.
Patrick D’Angelo, an attorney for the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, did not return calls today seeking comment. A spokeswoman for the city said she could not comment about pending litigation.
Attorney Paul Cristallo, who filed the suit, says Warren, Warren’s younger brother and two other men were stopped by police on a street on Cleveland’s West Side as the officers searched for a group of men who had robbed someone.
Cristallo said the officers put Warren in the back of a squad car, checked for arrest warrants and then told him he was free to go. When Warren asked Tankersley for his badge number, the suit claims, Tankersley punched Warren in the face and jaw. The suit claims Tankersley swore at him, screamed and spit in his face and stretched his right shoulder “out of place.”
“They stopped him when he hadn’t done anything wrong,” Cristallo said today. “I think they overreacted in the first place and compounded the problem by not giving him their badge numbers or identifying themselves.”
Warren was released from jail after being cited for disorderly conduct. That charge was later dropped when the officers failed to appear in court for a hearing.
The lawsuit said Warren went to a hospital emergency room the day after the incident and discovered he had a torn rotator cuff and had to have shoulder surgery in October 2012.
Tankersley was involved in one of the Cleveland Police Department’s highest-profile abuse complaints in the early 1990s when a suspect that he and another officer arrested died of positional asphyxiation as they tried to subdue him. A lawsuit against the city claimed that the officers tossed the unconscious body of the suspect, Michael Pipkins, into the back seat of their squad car and drove him to a district jail instead of seeking medical help.
No criminal charges were filed against Tankersley or the other officer, Jeffrey Gibson. The city settled the lawsuit filed by Pipkins’ family.