Knoxville police lawsuit claims officer beat unarmed man until he lost consciousness

Knoxville Police Department denies allegations, says officers acted reasonably

Photo used as evidence in the lawsuit.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Knoxville man has filed a lawsuit against three Knoxville police officers alleging they assaulted and beat him even though he was unarmed and complied with their commands.

Ernesto Delgadilo Rodridguez is suing Knoxville police officers Thomas Thurman, Frederick Kimber, Travis Steven Baker, claiming they denied his 4th and 14th amendment rights. Rodridguez also says Knoxville Police Department falsely accused him of aggravated assault.

According to the lawsuit, Officer Kimber responded to a domestic incident at Roaming Drive on July 9, 2014. The 911 caller said Rodridguez had thrown a knife, then walked down the street.

Office Kimber found Rodridguez nearby, made him stand with his stomach on the squad car’s hood and tried to cuff him even though Rodridguez said the cuffs were too small to fit on his wrists. Rodridguez, who is Mexican and spoke very little English, says he screamed in agony and attempted to let Kimber know the cuffs were too tight and hurting him. He says Kimber continued to try to force the cuffs on his arms.

Kimber called for backup, then threatened to zap Rodridguez with a Taser, according to the lawsuit. Officer Thurman responded to the backup call and, according to Rodridguez, proceeded to beat him to the point of losing consciousness while Kimber held him down. He also says Officer Baker responded to the call for backup during the beating.

The lawsuit claims, the officers were only able to handcuff Rodridguez after he passed out. He was rushed to University of Tennessee Medical Center’s trauma center. Rodriguez said he was treated for serious, life threatening injuries, saying he had visible scarring on his wrists from the cuffs and had several face and eye surgeries.

Evidence was submitted in the lawsuit that shows Officer Kimber filled out a patient hold form for Rodridguez, saying he was being held for failure to obey court orders in an active civil child support cases, but did not note any assault charges. The lawsuit also claims that four warrants “falsely accused him of two counts aggravated assault and two counts of assault,” were filed by the Knoxville Police Department. Those cases were dismissed on November 13, 2014. During the time before the warrants were dismissed, Rodridguez said he was detained at a Knox County detention facility where he was unable to care for his family or run his business.

Officers Kimber, Thurman and Baker did not complete the required reports and the supervisory officers did not properly review the reports according to the lawsuit. It also claims Knoxville Police Department did not adequately supervise or train officers in the use of force.

The Knoxville Police Department said they deny allegations of misconduct by officers. “At all times material hereto the City of Knoxville and its employees acted reasonably, properly, prudently and correctly, and in accordance with state and federal law,” said Chief David Rausch in answer to the lawsuit. “The Plaintiff’s alleged damages, if any, were proximately caused by his own negligent or intentional acts, and thus Plaintiff’s recovery is barred or limited by the doctrine of comparative fault.”

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