|BG man sues sheriff's office for excessive force during traffic stop|
|Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff|
|Saturday, 27 July 2013 07:25|
A lawsuit alleging excessive force is seeking a combined $4 million in damages against a Wood County Sheriff's deputy, Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn and Wood County.
The lawsuit, brought by Robert Getz, 75, Bowling Green, was filed July 10 in U.S. District Court.
The suit alleges that on Nov. 27, 2011, Getz was pulled over by Dep. Jody Swoap for driving with one headlight at night as he approached his rural Bowling Green home.
Getz, noticing Swoap's marked sheriff's cruiser, reportedly drove towards the vehicle, which had its emergency lights fliashing, "so that he could talk to the occupant of the police vehicle."
Swoap allegedly then shined a spotlight into Getz's vehicle, exited his cruiser with gun drawn, and said Getz was under arrest.
Records show that Getz was later cited for a light equipment violation.
The lawsuit states that Getz was subsequently handcuffed "in a brutal manner" and forced up against Swoap's vehicle. Swoap is alleged to have placed the handcuffs so tightly on Getz that his wrists bled, and refused to loosen them. The suit also alleges that Swoap refused to allow Getz's daughter to bring oxygen to her father, who "had medical issues related to his breathing."
The handcuffs were later removed at the sheriff's office by another deputy, and Getz was provided with oxygen there.
In a later meeting with Getz's son and daughter, Wasylyshyn, according to the complaint, after seeing photographs of Getz's injuries, reportedly stated "Yes, this looks like it could be a little excessive."
The suit is seeking damages under the Fourth and 14th Amendments to the Constitution, stating that Getz underwent unreasonable seizure of his person, and experienced "use of excessive, unreasonable and unjustified force."
The lawsuit seeks damages of $3 million against Swoap, and $1 million from Wasylyshyn and Wood County, as well as court costs.
Getz is represented by Toledo attorney Thomas Sobecki.
Wasylyshyn confirmed Friday that he is "aware of the lawsuit. We had an outside agency conduct an investigation after the Getz filed a complaint with the office. Based on that, our investigation and the outside agency investigation, I stand by my deputy, that they did the right thing."
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