A Ferguson police officer who helped detain journalists from the Huffington Post and the Washington Post in McDonald’s last month was previously accused of hog-tying a 12-year-old boy who was checking the mail at the end of his driveway.
Slate reports that Officer Justin Cosma arrested the reporters for failing to leave McDonald’s.
At the time of the McDonald’s incident, Cosma declined to give his name or badge number and has subsequently refused to identify himself to the press.
Huffington Post was able to match his name and face from a reader tip after the altercation.
A previous lawsuit, filed in Missouri federal court in 2012, reveals that Cosma, who was an officer with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at the time, is no stranger to altercations.
The lawsuit states that Cosma and his fellow officer Richard Carter approached a 12-year-old boy at his mailbox in June 2010.
“My client was 12 years old at the time, shirtless and was not suspected of any criminal behavior,” the boy’s lawyer, Richard R. Lozano, explained in a statement.
According to the lawsuit, the officers asked the boy if he had been playing on a nearby highway; when he replied that he had not been, the officers allegedly “became confrontational” and intimidated the child.
“Unprovoked and without cause, the deputies grabbed [the boy], choked him around the neck and threw him to the ground,” the lawsuit alleges. The boy, who was shirtless, reportedly “suffered bruising, choke marks, scrapes and cuts across his body.”
The boy was transferred to a medical facility for treatment.
The lawsuit states that Cosma and Carter reported the incident as “assault of a law enforcement officer third degree” and “resisting/interfering with arrest, detention or stop.”
The allegations against Cosma were made in September 2012, shortly after he was introduced as a new officer at a Ferguson City Council meeting.
According to the lawsuit, Jefferson County prosecutors “refused to issue a juvenile case” against the child.