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Can I file lawsuit if I get pepper sprayed and drug across floor without any additional charges besides DUI. It was excessive!

Knoxville, TN |

On september 2011 I was charged with DUI. Apon arrival at the jail I was told to strip down naked to be searched. A male officer was present (as well as female) and I didn't feel comfortable getting naked in front of the male. I asked for another female officer and was told no. The female officer pepper sprayed me in the face and slammed me on the ground ripping my clothes off. I was crying and having a panic attack.She peppered sprayed me a 2nd time then she drug me to the shower laughing. Told me this shower was gonna burn. She threatened to strap me down naked in a chair. A male officer advised the female to stop and place me in a room. When I attempted my phone call, an officer (male) would allow me to pick up the telephone and then he would intentionally hang it up. I have photos

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Attorney answers 4


You can certainly sue. You need to contact an attorney licensed in federal court.

Austin DWI Lawyer

My answers are intended only as general legal advice and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. There is no substitute for a full consultation with a local experienced criminal defense attorney. For more answers based on my 19 years of experience visit my website,


You can file a lawsuit. If you can prove what you say and there aren't any excuses, you can win it. No guarantees. These suits are hard even with the best evidence.

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Are you saying that this occurred about 18 months ago? Tennessee has a one year statute of limitations.

If the date was a typo and this occurred in 2012, then you'll need a video or objective witnesses to what happened and also an expert regarding what force is necessary versus excessive. Civil rights cases are difficult cases.

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David Craig Lee

David Craig Lee


The more I think about this, the more I think that you may have something. Can you gather all the communication that you've received from all sources, and sit down with me?

David Craig Lee

David Craig Lee


I have a different perspective on this issue, mainly because I practice tort law primarily and only occasionally (and very rarely) do defense work. When I have done defense work, I've sometimes already sued someone for wrongful arrest, or some such tort. If you are truly innocent, then YES, you should sue everyone. 'A strong offense is a good defense.' I would be very surprised if you could find a lawyer to take this case on a contingency. I personally would ask for an affidavit from you (establishing that I have good faith basis to sue) and $5,000 non-refundable fee. (The fee also tells me that you firmly/absolutely believe that you are innocent; and is a polite way for you to say 'no thanks.') BUT CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS, PLEASE UNDERSTAND THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR TORTS: IT'S ONE (1) YEAR FROM THE INJURY, NOT ONE YEAR FROM THE ACQUITTAL. I cite below a Tennessee Supreme Court decision on point: Lexis Overview: "The State argued that the citizens' action was barred by the one-year statute of limitations for personal injury actions contained in Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-104 and alternatively, that amendments to Tenn. Code Ann. § 9-8-307(a)(1)(N), which eliminated a cause of action for negligent deprivation of a constitutional right, were to be applied retroactively to bar the citizens' action. The court found that statutes should be applied prospectively unless the legislative history clearly indicated a contrary content and that there was no such intent in this instance. Further, the court explained that remedial or procedural statutes could be applied retroactively, but that § 9-8-403(a)(1)(N) was neither remedial or procedural. The court held that although the citizens' action was based on the deprivation of constitutional rights, it was actually a negligence action and negligence law should govern when the cause of action accrued. The court concluded that the injuries alleged by the citizens occurred more than one year before they filed their complaint, and as a result, their complaint was barred by the statute of limitations. Shell v. State, 893 S.W.2d 416, 1995 Tenn. LEXIS 14 (Tenn. 1995)


sounds like you have a statute of limitations problem.

Claiborne H. Ferguson, Esq. is * Certified as a Specialist in Criminal Trial Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. * Certified as a Specialist in Criminal Trial Advocacy by the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization.

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