An Owsley County sheriff's deputy assaulted an Ohio man without provocation, breaking his left eye socket and nose, a federal lawsuit alleges.
State police and the FBI are believed to be investigating the deputy, Michael Havicus, and Booneville Officer Timothy Marshall, who failed to stop the attack, and both might face criminal charges, the lawsuit says.
The alleged assault happened in October, when John Adkins of Clinton County, Ohio, was attending a horse-riding event called the Fall Trail Ride in Owsley County with his fiancée, Kerri Vandiver, according to the lawsuit.
On Oct. 8, the two went to hear a band perform at the Owsley County Saddle Club grounds. That night, Havicus and Marshall came to the event because of a report of an intoxicated woman.
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The lawsuit says the band was told to shut down. Adkins, who was not drunk, wanted to see the rest of the performance and asked "quietly and calmly" that the band be allowed to continue playing, the lawsuit said.
Immediately after he made the request, Havicus hit Adkins in the face with an expandable baton, the lawsuit says.
Adkins did nothing to provoke the attack, the lawsuit contends.
After Adkins fell to the ground, momentarily unconscious, Havicus jumped on his back, jerked his arms behind his back and restrained him, then sprayed a chemical in his face and hit him at least two more times in the head with his baton, the lawsuit said.
Havicus kept yelling for Adkins to stop resisting, but Adkins didn't resist, the lawsuit says.
Marshall did nothing to stop the attack, the lawsuit says.
While still on the ground, Adkins asked for water to flush out his eyes, and a bystander offered to help him, but the officers refused to help Adkins and wouldn't let the other man help him.
The officers put Adkins and his fiancée in the back of a police cruiser, but dropped them off at a campground and never charged Adkins with any crime, the lawsuit said.
A student emergency medical technician helped clean a large cut under Adkins' left eye. He later went to a medical facility in Breathitt County, where he was told he had a broken eye socket and nose and two knots on his head, the lawsuit said.
Several people witnessed the incident and have since corroborated that Havicus hit Adkins without provocation, the lawsuit said.
Attempts to reach the officers Wednesday evening were not successful. A recording at a number listed to Havicus said the phone was not in service.
Adkins has since been treated for blurred vision, headaches and issues with memory loss, the lawsuit says.
Adkins is a heavy-equipment mover, but has missed a lot of work because he can't drive with blurred vision or while on pain medication, the lawsuit says.
The complaint alleges that Havicus assaulted Adkins and that both officers used excessive force, violated his constitutional rights, falsely imprisoned him and were deliberately indifferent to his need for medical attention.
The action seeks unspecified damages from the two officers.