Family files federal lawsuit against New Albany police

A Union County woman has filed a federal lawsuit against four New Albany police officers and the city’s chief of police regarding the alleged unlawful arrest, physical injury and wrongful jailing of her now 14-year-old son.

Tamica Smith, represented by Oxford attorneys David Hill and Tiffany Leigh Kilpatrick, filed the lawsuit Tuesday with the U.S. District Court’s Northern District office in Oxford.  In the lawsuit, New Albany Police officers Ben Kent, Jason McDaniel, Gabe Wilson, Stewart Dodds and Chief David Grisham are named as defendants.
According to the lawsuit, Smith claimed that three police officers arrived without a warrant at the family’s residence, 206B Cleveland St., on the afternoon of April 29, and drew a weapon on her then 13-year-old son, Scottie.  She goes on to allege that the officers threw him up against her car, and proceeded to punch, kick and stomp on him while he lay on the ground.
Smith said that her son was also tasered in the back at least twice and handcuffed.  The officers then transported him to the Union County Jail.  He was later transported to the detention center in Tupelo despite, she said, the department being made aware that the arrest was without cause.
The lawsuit states that Smith’s son was never charged with any crime, nor has any Youth Court petition been filed against him.
Smith states that her son’s constitutional rights against false arrest, false imprisonment use of excessive force and intentional infliction of emotional distress were violated.  She states that her son incurred medical bills for both physical and mental distress.
The lawsuit states that, at all times, the police officers were acting “under the color of the law,”  presenting themselves not only as individuals, but also as representatives of the city during the incident.
New Albany Mayor Tim Kent said Thursday morning that he was only aware of the lawsuit through news sources.
“We haven’t been served anything by the court yet,” Kent said.  “Usually, in cases like this, we are served as well, but I wasn’t aware of it before now.”
Smith’s attorneys said they are asking Judge Mills for a jury trial and that Smith is seeking damages in excess of minimum limits, expenses, attorneys fees, as well as punitive damages if the court and jury agree to them.