article by Meg Wagner via nydailynews.com
An Ohio man who was beaten by a drunk cop and left locked in a closet for four days without food, water or access to a bathroom was awarded $22 million in court.
Arnold Black sued East Cleveland police over his 2012 detainment, saying a pair of officers mixed up his car with that of a suspected drug dealer and wrongfully took him into custody. One of the cops reeked of alcohol — and punched Black for “messing up” his night at the bar, according to the lawsuit.
“The officer … grabbed me like this,” Black told Fox 8 while motioning with his hands. “And he held me up, and — Boom! — I just remember getting hit.”
Black said he was driving through the city in his green pickup truck in April 2012 when officers Jonathan O’Leary and Randy Hicks pulled him over and asked him where they could find drug dealers in East Cleveland. The pair said they were hunting for a green truck carrying a load of cocaine — and Hicks, who was slurring his speech and reeked of booze, seemed upset that Black wasn’t the suspected drug dealer, the lawsuit alleged. “I was at a bar with friends. You messed up my night,” Hicks told the driver.
The cop with the blood-shot eyes and cloudy coordination punched Black in the head, handcuffed him and then punched him again, the lawsuit alleged. O’Leary, who did not appear to be drunk, stood back and did nothing to atop the attack.
The duo carted Black off to jail, but instead of sticking him in a cell, they locked him in a storage closet, Black said.
Black said he spent four days trapped inside the tiny room without food, water, fresh clothes or bedding. He wasn’t allowed to make any phone, shower or even use a toilet. “I knocked on the door and was like, ‘Can anybody hear me? Can anybody? I’ve got to use the bathroom,’” Black recalled. “Nobody ever answered.”
The trapped Ohio man eventually urinated in one of the closet’s lockers. Four days after he was tossed inside the makeshift cell, police let him out and allowed him to consult with a lawyer.
Two months later, a grand jury indicted Black on cocaine charges — even though police had no evidence to support the drug was ever in his possession. The case was later dropped, and Black filed his lawsuit in 2014.
A Cuyahoga County jury decided Tuesday to award Black $22 million for the four-day ordeal.