The family of Missouri man Antonio Johnson is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the Hazelwood, Missouri Police Department after Johnson died following his July 9, 2013 arrest.
On the date of his arrest, Johnson was pulled over for drunk driving. Officers suspected the man to be either drunk, on drugs, or both. According to the police report, Johnson resisted his arrest. After his initial resistance, officers used a stun gun on Johnson multiple times before calling for backup.
According to the lawsuit, the backup officers beat Johnson to the point of unconsciousness after arriving. Despite life threatening injuries, Johnson was taken to the county jail and left in a holding cell for hours. Eventually, an ambulance was called and Johnson was taken to the hospital.
At the hospital, Johnson was deemed to be in critical condition. He had numerous lacerations and injuries all over his face and head. Two days later, he died.
The family’s lawsuit alleges that Hazelwood officers used excessive force during their arrest of Johnson. They are seeking upwards of $25,000 in damages.
“We feel this is another classic case of excessive force and we’re determined to get to the bottom of it,” said Freeman Bosley Jr., the family’s attorney. “We’re concerned about how this man, on just a basic traffic stop, could wind up dead.”
St. Louis police conducted an internal investigation of the event, but, as is all too common, they found no wrongdoing on the part of the officers. St. Louis city attorney Peter Dunne only spoke briefly on the on-going case.
“We deny any wrongdoing and we’re confident that the fact-finding process will establish that,” he said.