Mich. man injured by stun gun sues sheriff’s deputies
Pontiac – A suburban Detroit man is suing two sheriff’s deputies after suffering injuries from being immobilized with a stun gun when authorities mistook him for a parole absconder.
Ronnie Flemming, 59, alleges in a federal lawsuit that he was falsely arrested and unjustly assaulted by Oakland County deputies in July 2017, MLive.com reported. Flemming also claims that his civil rights were violated when deputies attempted to pull him over and fired a Taser into his hip while he was biking in Pontiac.
Flemming’s lawsuit states that he was riding his bike to visit his grandson when an unmarked black vehicle started following him. The deputies said the patrol vehicle was “semi-marked” with lights and siren. Flemming rode away from the vehicle, alleging he didn’t hear the deputies give any orders, the lawsuit states.
The deputies said Flemming fit the description of a wanted parole absconder. Both men are black, in their 50s and have graying beards.
Deputies allege they feared Flemming had a weapon after he disobeyed multiple orders to stop fleeing and reached into his pocket during the chase. Oakland County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Scruggs said in an incident report that he ordered Flemming to stop at least three times before firing the Taser.
The stun gun’s electric shock caused Flemming to fall and strike his face against a curb, resulting in 10 stitches and several fractures, according to the lawsuit.
Oakland County Undersheriff Michael McCabe said the officers reasonably feared for their safety when Flemming started reaching into his pocket.
“We back our deputy 100 percent,” McCabe said. “Neither of the deputies did anything wrong.”
Officers later found marijuana while searching Flemming’s pockets and prosecutors charged him with drug possession. Flemming’s lawsuit alleges that there wasn’t any probable cause to justify the deputies’ search.