According to the civil complaint, a 16-year-old asthmatic was held to the ground with an officer’s knee on his neck following a traffic stop in July 2020, and his family has filed a complaint against the city of Baton Rouge and the city’s police department.
According to the lawsuit obtained by Atlanta Black Star, Dillion Cannon, also known as “D.C.,” was pinned to the ground while an officer’s knee “was pressing on D.C.’s neck for close to 30 seconds, restricting his ability to breathe, before the arresting officers collectively jerked him up off the ground, yanking his arms backward.”
Necks, however, are prohibited, according to BRPD officers, and this approach was not utilized to hold the teen.
According to The Advocate, Sgt. Myron Daniels revealed at a news conference last year that “a knee on the back is employed as a control method.” “However, the neck is forbidden territory.
Cannon was a passenger in a vehicle that failed to stop when an officer attempted to pull it over for a seat belt violation on July 6 of last year. The truck came to a halt about 50 minutes into the chase after the driver disobeyed many traffic signals and stop signs. According to the legal claim, both the driver and the passenger exited the automobile with their hands up over their heads. One set of three officers arrested the driver without incident. Tenesha Cannon, the teen’s mother, claims that despite the fact that Cannon was kneeling and obeying directions from another set of three cops, he was kept at gunpoint and “forcefully shackled.”
Because the kid consented after exiting the vehicle, the family’s attorney, Ron Haley, agreed that the level of force wasn’t warranted. “Our client, her son, was a passenger,” says the attorney. He doesn’t drive the car, he’s on his knees in a submissive position, and yet he’s treated as if he’s a threat,” Haley remarked at a press conference outside the police station days after the event. “It doesn’t get much more submissive than being on your knees with your hands up. Why was he treated in such a harsh way? He didn’t have any weapons on him. He wasn’t a threat to anyone, so he shouldn’t have been treated that way.”
Lorenzo Coleman, Travis Williams, and Douglas Schutz were the cops who pulled their firearms on Cannon, according to the lawsuit. Officer Alvaro Alvarez “placed his left knee on the back of D.C.’s neck while he grasped and pushed D.C.’s left wrist behind his back,” according to the claim, despite the fact that Cannon, who was prone on the ground, “did not resist at any time.”
According to the lawsuit, Cannon informed authorities that he had asthma, to which one officer replied, “I don’t give a damn.” According to the suit, the knee stayed on Canon’s neck for 30 seconds. Furthermore, while BRPD officials claim Alvarez’s knee was on Cannon’s back, the suit claims that “the body camera footage, as well as bystander smartphone videos, clearly demonstrates that the knee was solidly on D.C.’s neck and back.”
The incident occurred about six weeks after George Floyd’s death, which was widely publicized after former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck, according to the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, no other cops intervened while Alvarez kneeled on Cannon, and the adolescent was forced to wear a neck brace as a result of the event.
“It is abhorrent and reprehensible that the Baton Rouge Police Department would deploy that method on a child less than two months after George Floyd was murdered by an illegal police tactic,” Christoper Murell, an attorney for the Cannon family, told VICE News.
The family is seeking damages as well as attorneys’ costs for injuries experienced as a result of the defendant’s activities.
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