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Lawsuit: Police didn’t follow protocols during man’s arrest

DANVILLE (AP) A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a Virginia man who said police officers didn’t follow proper protocol during his arrest on probation violation and felony larceny charges.

A $10 million lawsuit was filed on behalf of Eldridge Meeks in U.S. District Court in Danville by attorney Paul Valois on May 24, almost two years after the incident took place, The Danville Register & Bee reported. The lawsuit names the city of Danville, six police officers and what the lawsuit calls “John Does 1-10.”

According to the lawsuit, a Danville police officer broke Meeks’ clavicle when when forcing him to the ground with a baton on May 25, 2018. The officer then climbed on Meeks’ back, breaking several of his ribs and causing a broken rib to separate from the chest wall, the lawsuit said. Meeks said he was screaming in pain and told the officers he couldn’t breathe.

Body cam footage from police officers shows an officer discharged a stun gun at Meeks, who was handcuffed, as he attempted to flee the scene. An officer then used an object — what Valois said is a baton and the Danville Police Department said is a flashlight — to keep Meeks on the ground as they attempted to keep him under control.

The lawsuit also alleges that the officers delayed seeking medical help, but the Danville Police Department said in a statement that less than 30 seconds after requesting emergency medical service, police rolled Meeks onto his side after he complained he couldn’t breathe.

When Meeks continued complaining that he couldn’t breathe, they sat him upright until the Danville Life Saving Crew arrived, the police department said.

Danville police spokesman Lt. Richard Chivvis told the Register & Bee that department employees go through training regarding the use of stun guns and use of force at least once a year.

The suit was filed one day short of the two-year anniversary of the arrest, which is when the statute of limitations would have expired.

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