A Little Rock man who was injured a year ago when a hit-and-run driver struck him and a police officer walking him across a street in handcuffs has filed a federal lawsuit against the officer and the city.
The lawsuit filed by Daryl M. Johnson, who was taken to a hospital for treatment alongside Lt. Johnny Gilbert Jr., says he was a victim of false arrest, malicious prosecution and a civil-rights violation. He seeks punitive damages.
The lawsuit alleges that on Nov. 5, 2017, Gilbert arrested Johnson without probable cause outside Philander Smith College, which was hosting a homecoming party.
Police said Johnson was one of several men who were denied admission to the party about 12:40 a.m., after the doors were closed to newcomers because the party was scheduled to end in less than an hour. The men became upset and began cursing at officers, who escorted them across the street and again asked them to leave the area, police said. Officers reported that all of the men calmed down except for Johnson, who was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.
After Johnson's arrest, Gilbert was walking him across the street when both men were struck by a maroon vehicle that fled. The next day, driver Keith Hearnsberger, 35, an assistant principal at McClellan High School who lived in the area, surrendered and was charged with two counts of second-degree battery, one count of leaving the scene of an accident with injury and one misdemeanor count of reckless driving.
The lawsuit alleged that Gilbert forced Johnson "to cross the road at an angle, not at a crosswalk, and in a direction opposite of the police cruisers present nearby."
It noted that officers who were already present and others working nearby quickly responded to an "officer down" report and removed Johnson's handcuffs to render him aid. Both men were then transported to hospitals, where both were admitted. Police said the next day that Gilbert was in serious but stable condition and Johnson was in stable condition.
Johnson's disorderly conduct charge was later dropped, but the lawsuit alleges that he suffered temporary and permanent injuries including loss of feeling, nerve irritation, speech and motor skills deficiencies, emotional distress, and loss of employment.
Metro on 11/08/2018
Print Headline: Man struck by car while in handcuffs sues Little Rock, police officer