A lawsuit filed against the Suffolk County Police Department alleges that officers used excessive force and violated civil rights, including for allegedly tearing off a man’s prosthetic leg to get him into a cop car.
Waverly Lucas, 48, claims he was assaulted during his unwarranted arrest on Aug. 18, 2021. His attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC are suing the county police department on his behalf for $50 million in damages.
“Mr. Waverly clearly had his rights violated by Suffolk County Police who had no reason to attack him other than the color of his skin,” said Heather M. Palmore, Lucas’s attorney. “We are holding the County of Suffolk, the Suffolk County Police Department, and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office each responsible for their lack of training in interacting with disabled citizens and for failing to treat Mr. Lucas with the dignity that we all deserve regardless of origin or race.”
A Suffolk County spokesperson said the county and its police department cannot comment on pending litigation.
Lucas claims to have suffered blurred vision, a fractured eye socket, wrist injuries, and emotional trauma following the incident, as well as excruciating pain from having his prosthetic leg torn off.
According to the lawsuit, Lucas was walking toward a Gulf Gas Station convenience store in Wyandanch when two white officers stopped him from entering and asked to see identification. When Lucas asked for a reason, he alleges that the officers accused him of public urination, then allegedly used excessive force to handcuff and shove him in the police vehicle.
Since Lucas has limited range of motion in his prosthetic leg, officers allegedly became frustrated trying to fit him into the backseat and ripped the leg off. A video of the incident shows one officer putting the leg in the trunk of the car. Lucas claims it was never returned, so he ordered a new one.
After his arrest that day, Lucas was treated at Good Samaritan Hospital and diagnosed with a severely fractured orbital bone, swollen wrists, and injuries to multiple body parts, his attorneys said. They added that after the arrest, cops allegedly searched his vehicle without a warrant, found his prescription oxycodone pills, confiscated them, and charged him for illegal drugs. The charges were later dropped.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York.