Coldwater police sued over alleged brutality caught on camera

Posted at 3:53 PM, Dec 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-15 15:54:10-05

COLDWATER, Mich. -- Attorney Solomon Radner said he’s disgusted with police brutality, including allegations a Coldwater public safety officer threw his client, Tiffany McNeil, to the ground. The incident was captured on a Branch County Jail surveillance camera in July.

"I was sick to my stomach. I couldn't believe that police officers did that," Radner said of seeing the video.

"This needs to stop, and the only way this is going to stop is with multimillion dollar lawsuits," Radner explained.

Radner believes the other officers showed a disturbing indifference and minimized what actually happened. Once McNeil, who was handcuffed, hit the ground he said she bled and lost consciousness. Radner said the video shows the officer kneeing her in the back.

"Lewis Eastmead, the guy who actually threw her to the ground, wrote that she was actively combatting them. He had no choice but to take her down. He use the arm bar technique," Radner said.

He added, "The other two officers from Coldwater wrote that she fell down and bumped her head."

McNeil had been taken into custody on a domestic call after an argument escalated with her husband. According to police, she was intoxicated. But her attorney said absolutely nothing justifies what's seen in the video. So his lawsuit seeks to hold the department accountable.

McNeil is looking for compensation for her physical pain and emotional trauma. She said she suffered a concussion and needed 17 stitches.

Radner said, "None of the standard defenses to police brutality can possibly apply in this case. They lied in their reports. They were thug-like."

"I know that there's this thin blue line that police officers don't like to cross, but I also know that some of the actually have a conscious. Some of them actually want to turn other people in, but they can't because of the backlash that's going to happen to them. Call us confidentially. Tell us what's going on, and we'll look into these things," Radner said.

Radner said Coldwater's city manager Keith Baker allegedly defended the officer's actions at first but then changed his tune. Baker released a statement saying:

"As an organization, the City of Coldwater is committed to holding our employees to the highest standards of performance. We take seriously allegations like those outlined in the lawsuit filed against the city this week. The incident that is the subject of the lawsuit is also the subject of an ongoing internal investigation by the city of Coldwater Police Department. We are not able to comment further on the incident or pending litigation at this time."