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Judge Orders Mediation in Disabled Man's Police Abuse Case

Monday, January, 2, 2012

Back in 2008, video images showing a police deputy dumping a quadriplegic man from his wheelchair became a hot topic the world over. Since this incident, Brian Sterner, the victim, has pressed civil charges The Judge of this case, Virginia M. Hernandez Covington, ordered the case to mediation.


The Background of This Dispute


On January 29, 2008, Brian Sterner was arrested due to a felony warrant for a traffic violation. He was taken to the Orient Road Jail in Tampa, Florida. It was there that Charlette Marshall-Jones, a detention deputy, flung him from his wheelchair.


Sterner pressed charges that October, alleging three counts of negligence, two counts of battery, two counts of discrimination and violations of his Constitutional Rights against David Gee, the County Sheriff. Ms. Marshall-Jones and another detention deputy resigned due to this incident and the supervisor that was present was terminated.


Denial of Charges Leading to Civil Mediation


In Gee's defense attorneys' response, it was openly acknowledged that Marshall-Jones intentionally dumped Sterner out of his wheelchair. They also claimed that no physical or emotional harm came to Sterner from this incident. They further claimed that the other detention deputies responded appropriately to this incident, from their immediate reactions to the incident to how they dealt with the offending deputy. In short, only Marshall-Jones is responsible for this act.


On December 22, Judge Covington ordered the dispute to mediation. Her reasons were that there were limited judicial resources to handle civil cases, and that this route was the most appropriate given the case's nature. The assignment of punitive and compensatory damages, if any are warranted, is what remains.