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Ask TexLaw Your Own Question
TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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First I would like to state that I am a handicapped long time

Customer Question

First I would like to state that I am a handicapped long time resident of Portsmouth, Va and late one night I went for a ride because I could not sleep due to the pain I suffer from daily. I was stopped by an officer. I informed the officer immediately two times that I was carrying a concealed weapon with no response from him. He announced that he could smell marijuana. He asked me out of my vehicle and a third time I, much louder this time, told him I had a concealed weapon. He dis-armed me and told me to face the truck and put my hand behind my back. As I did this I asked "Please be carefull, I have two torn shoulder from a disease I have" (I have handicapped tags displayed). His response was "Stop resisting or I will take you to the ground". Immediately he pulled my left hand up to the base of my neck and dislocated my shoulder. I immediately went into some sort of shock. He pulled the other hand up by the thumb and attached it with handcuffs to the other wrist. He lead me a short distance from my vehicle and ask where the marijuana was. I replied if there was any in my expedition it would be in an earplug container in the center console(holds a total of two earplugs). He replied that he was not interested in that, he wanted the quantity. I had no idea what he was talking about. He questioned me for a short time after that, led me over to another officers car and put me headfirst in the 1/2 back seat, head and dislocated shoulder sustaining all of my weight. He tightened the handcuffs again and commented, "oh yea, you know your rights don't you". He then tightened the cuffs a third time. He periodically came back to the driver front window and asked first if it were cocain, did I have cocain hidden in my Expy. Then he came back and asked if I had herion hiddin inside. He appeared to be getting more aggitated all the time. The last thing he asked was did I have pills hidden in my Expy. After about an hour or so of this he came and got me out of the car and took off the hand cuffs and yelled, "put your hands up". I could not get my left arm from behind my back. He yelled the second time to put my hands up and I reached over and forced my own shoulder back into the socket and could barely get it raised. He then led me back to my Expy telling me the whole way what he would and could do when he catches me with quantity. He returned my firearm to the back of the Expy allowed me into my truck, handed me a summons to appear for the very small amount of marijuana in the console and told me to re-arm myself when I came to the next parking lot. I did file a complaint with the internal affairs the next day and saw my orthopaedic surgeon, still in some sort of shock. A couple months later the Internal Affairs detective working the case called me and told me she has finished her report and when I received my copy to have an attorney ready to take action, her words. Just this weekend after I left a message with the investigator two days prior that my doctor informed me the injury is very serious and required surgery. I had not regained any of the range of motion lost from this injury I received a letter from the Interium Assistant Police Chief that they found no evidense to substantiate my claims. I contacted the investigator who seemed to be evasive at first and wanted to know what I wanted out of this. I replied, I wanted to know why when I begged the officer to be carefull about my shoulders would he respond like he did and dislocate my shoulder? I asked her about the copy of her report she said I would be receiving and she denied saying that and said she told me I would receive a letter which was absolutely not a true statement. She told me when I received her report to have my lawyer ready to take action. That is where I am today and do not know where to turn. Please help me. I am seriously handicapped with Rhumatoid arthritis, Osteo arthritis, a disease that is a failure of the muscle attachments throughout the body and a tumor on my foot. I am facing foreclosure and now another operation because of this injury. Please advise me what to do or where I can turn for help. The initial lawyer I had was mad that I reported this before seeing him, I paid him to defend me on the misdemeanor marijuana charge and he basically told the court I was a first time offender and we were pleading guilty under the first offender status. I received 6 months supervised probation, six months suspended license, drug testing and counseling, plus fines and court cost. Please help me. I was trying to save my home before this and now am at the banks mercy. My small business made right at $3000 per quarter and less than $800 for the quarter that began right at the time he injured me. I had not realized my ability to work had been deminished by that much until I had to provide my mortgage company a quarterly breakdown of my income over the holidays. Thank you, XXXXX [email protected]
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  TexLaw replied 5 years ago.
Dear Mr. Flory,

First of all, let me say that this is a truly terrible event which has happened to you and I am very sorry to hear about it. The betrayal of trust that occurs when a police officer abuses his power, as he did in your situation, is truly devastating and sad.

You have a very serious claim for police brutality. You need to file the claim and you need to retain an attorney. It sounds like you've spoken to your criminal defense attorney, but this is not the kind of attorney you need. You need to hire a Plaintiff's attorney. Look on google for "plaintiff's attorney", "tort attorney" or "trial lawyer" in your area and start making calls to see if you can find one to take your case. Many of them will have websites with emails. I would simply copy and paste your narrative above and send an email to any attorney's address you can find in your area after you've done a google search

Also, in the meantime, you should file a Virginia Freedom of Information Act request for the police video tape from both police cars that were at the scene of your arrest and the report which was done in your case. You also need to start collecting proof of your medical costs that resulted from then injuries which the police officer caused, and if possible get your doctor to put in writing the cost of future medical treatment for the injuries you sustained from the police officer. This will be a starting place for your claim against the police department.

Please let me know if you need further information. I hope I've been of some help to you.

Best Regards,
Zachary D. Norris
TexLaw and 2 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you so much for your answer. Finally somewhere to start. Could you tell me how to file the Virginia Freedom of Information Act request? I requested a copy of the original police report and was denied that. When I stated I am asking based on this act they made me fill out a locally generated request form and they acted as if they were immune to such request's. About a week more later I received a police report that basically only had the charge and the basic personal and vehicle information. Nothing about the actual stop. I still do not know why I was stopped and the officer asked me after questioning me, while re-tightning the handcuffs for the third time in the back of the car, "oh yea, you do know your rights don't you"?. I am suppose to be getting a call from the IA Investigators superior tomorrow, any suggestions on what I should or should not say? Thank you and I am accepting your original answer now.



Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I sent the above follow up question. Is there anything else I need to do to get the answer for that one.


Thank you.

Expert:  TexLaw replied 5 years ago.
It's not right that they denied you a copy of the original police report. This should have been something that was obtained by your criminal defense attorney. However, the fact that they are denying you access to it tells me there's something they are trying to hide...which is good for you case.

Under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, you must submit a request identifying the records you are looking for with as much specificity as possible. Basically, write a letter saying the following:

Dear Police Department Records Section:

Pursuant to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, please produce copies of the following records:

1. All police reports regarding Melvin Flory.
2. All internal investigation reports regarding Officer __________ in connection with the arrest of Melvin Flory on _____________ date.
3. All video and audio tapes recording the arrest of Melvin Flory, including the initial stop of Mr. Flory.
4. Any and all complaints filed in connection with Officer _______ for the past 5 years.
5. Any and all disciplinary reports regarding Officer ___________.

Please notify me in writing at ________________________ (your address) if there are any reasons under the Act for which you are denying my request as to each record requested.

Send this letter by certified mail return receipt requested. This should get the ball rolling on the request.

When you talk to the IA investigator, make sure to tell him the exact same story you told in your complaint. If you deviate they will think you are making stuff up. Don't mention anything about a law suit or about the public records request, as this will put them on the defensive. My experience has been that police departments go the extra mile to protect their own, even the IA division. Be earnest and tell him that you just want some answers as to why this happened because you did not deserve this treatment. It is highly unlikely that they will agree to provide you with any compensation as a result of an IA investigation. You will have to press for this through your civil lawsuit.

Best Regards,
Zachary D. Norris