The South Carolina woman who was grabbed by the hair and thrown to the ground by a Richland County deputy in January filed a lawsuit against law enforcement last week.
Cierra Davis filed the personal injury lawsuit against Richland County, Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Kyle Oliver, and other deputies on Sept. 23.
On Sept. 2, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott told news media Oliver was fired from the department and charged in the January 7, 2020 use-of-force incident that was captured on bodycam video (below). He was charged with assault and battery in the third degree.
Lott said he wasn’t aware of the incident until someone outside of the department called about it in early September. He said he would be looking at policies to ensure something like this doesn’t slip by again.
This is the second lawsuit filed against Oliver and Richland County Sheriff’s Department in the last two months.
“There are two problems here..one, the fact that he did it and the second problem is that we that we didn’t find out about it until now,” Lott said in early September.
Just two weeks before Oliver was fired, FITSNews reported on another lawsuit filed against him for a separate incident. That lawsuit focused on a 2018 incident in which Oliver and another deputy (allegedly) entered a Chapin, South Carolina home with their weapons drawn and woke up a family to arrest a woman for a traffic violation.
The latest lawsuit describes the January incident that eventually cost Oliver his job.
On Jan. 7, deputies arrested Davis and transported her to the Region Four Richland County Sheriff’s Office Headquarters, where she was placed on a bench with her hands cuffed behind her back, according to the lawsuit.
According to Lott, Davis was agitated and banged her head so hard against the wall behind her it made a hole. The lawsuit does not mention this.
Oliver “became enraged” with Davis and “approached her in a menacing and threatening manner, grabbed her by the hair, and threw her to the ground in front of the bench,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit claims other deputies — who will be identified later as more information becomes available in the lawsuit — did not offer Davis proper medical treatment for her injuries at the time and did not report the incident to authorities.
The lawsuit also claims that Oliver and other deputies “degraded” Davis “through the use of profane, vile, insulting, and otherwise inappropriate comments related to her womanhood, her femininity, her character, her mental state, and her personhood.”
According to online court documents, Davis was charged with assaulting/ beating/ wounding a police officer while resisting arrest, in addition to a domestic violence charge that same night.
The lawsuit said that Davis’ charges have since been “resolved.”
Oliver and other deputies “submitted misleading or otherwise false information regarding the use of force,” the lawsuit claims.
After the incident, Richland County and RCSD failed to investigate the incident “in any manner” and didn’t review the bodycam footage until a tipster called the sheriff’s office about the incident eight months later, according to the lawsuit.
Here’s the full lawsuit…kyleoliver
Columbia, South Carolina attorneys Jerry Leo Finney and Stephanie R. Fajardo are representing Davis in the suit.
In early Septmber, Lott said the incident was a “failure on the department.”
“Our checks and balances we have in place did not work,” Lott said.
In response to this incident, Lott created a new position specifically in charge of reviewing body cam footage in internal affairs investigations.
“This will ensure use-of-force incidents are reviewed by the officer’s chain of command and by internal affairs, regardless whether a complaint is lodged,” Lott said in a news release.
In the press conference in early September, Lott vaguely mentioned that Oliver was named in another recent lawsuit.
The Other Lawsuit
Two weeks ago, FITSNews exclusively reported on the lawsuit against Oliver.
Katherine Tompeck and her boyfriend Kevin Morris are suing Richland County, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, and deputies Kyle Oliver and Michael Caughman for personal injury. They filed the lawsuit in August.
Oliver and another deputy are accused of illegally entering Chapin, South Carolina home with their weapons drawn and waking up a family to arrest a woman for a traffic violation in 2018, according to a lawsuit filed in August.
“If any private citizen committed the same actions as Oliver and his partner, that private citizen could be charged with the crimes of burglary and kidnapping,” the lawsuit said.
In the lawsuit, Oliver is not only accused of waking the family up by gunpoint and arresting a woman on a reckless driving charge (which was later dropped), he’s also accused of making “demeaning and inappropriate comments” about the woman to her boyfriend.
Tompeck’s lawyers also claim Oliver’s body cam footage from that night is missing several hours of tape.
We will keep a close eye on both of these lawsuits at FITSNews…
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