From [HERE] The City of Alabaster and two police officers are the target of a lawsuit filed on behalf of a woman who claims her husband died from excessive force used by the cops who responded to a medical emergency in 2010. Evelyn Bivins Woodson, as the personal representative of Willie Lewis Woodson's estate, is suing the city and officers Justin Snead and Jameson Lee for their actions in November 2010.
The lawsuit filed on Nov. 28 in U.S. District Court for Alabama's Northern District seeks an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages and other relief stemming from her husband's death. In an answer to the federal complaint filed Dec. 18, the city and two officers deny any allegations of wrongdoing.
The lawsuit alleges the excessive force and resulting wrongful death happened when police and emergency medical personnel responded to the Woodson home in late November 2010.
The complaint describes Willie Woodson as a disabled former truck driver who was legally blind and an insulin-dependent diabetic for about 25 years. "On occasion, Mr. Woodson's blood sugar would get too low. When this occurred, Mr. Woodson would become disoriented and confused," the lawsuit states.
On about Nov. 27 or 29, 2010, Woodson experienced problems with his blood sugar and called out to his wife. He was confused and disoriented due to his unstable blood sugar, according to the lawsuit.
Family members could not help Woodson with his blood sugar that day, so they called paramedics at about 8 p.m. The lawsuit states that four medical personnel responded in 12 minutes. An estimated nine Alabaster police officers also arrived. Medical personnel administered intravenous fluids to Woodson, who was slamming his hands down on a kitchen table during his disorientation and confusion, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint alleges that Snead and Lee tried to place Woodson under arrest for resisting arrest during the medical treatment.
"As this was happening, Mr. Woodson's family and the paramedics told the police that he was having a diabetic fit," according to the lawsuit. "Mr. Woodson was having a medical emergency and was not resisting arrest."
The complaint claims that Snead told one of Woodson's granddaughters to get back or he would use a Taser on her.
"Mr. Woodson, while handcuffed, stood up from the kitchen table and Officer Snead and Officer Lee violently slammed Mr. Woodson to the ground" and caused "substantial pain" to him, according to the lawsuit.
"Mr. Woodson's head hit the floor so hard that Mr. Woodson could hear something crack," the lawsuit states. "Blood shot from Mr. Woodson's mouth."
The complaint alleges the two officers placed their knees on his back, causing Woodson to exclaim he could not breathe. "Mr. Woodson then became silent and unresponsive," the lawsuit states.
The officers rolled Woodson onto his back, and he was "bleeding and foaming from his mouth," according to the complaint. Also, the intravenous tube inserted into Woodson's arm by the medical personnel had come out.
Paramedics transported Woodson to the Shelby Baptist Medical Center and he never regained consciousness, according to the lawsuit.
Woodson had suffered cardiac arrest in the incident and he no longer had brain function, the complaint states. He died shortly after being taken off life support on Dec. 2, 2010.
The lawsuit blames the two officers for causing Woodson's death. "Mr. Woodson died as a result of violent, excessive and unnecessary force at the hands of Officer Snead and Officer Lee," according to the complaint.
The officers' actions delayed the needed medical treatment for Woodson and contributed to his death, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint states allegations of illegal arrest and excessive force, false imprisonment, denial or delay of medical care and wrongful death on the part of the two officers and the city named as defendants.
The city and officers in their 25-page response states that Woodson was never placed under arrest.
Any action by the city and the two officers were "taken with the good faith belief that it was legal and lawful at the time," according to the response.
"The Defendants were not the moving force behind any injury alleged by the Plaintiff," the document states. "Any force used by an agent or employee of the Defendant City of Alabaster against Mr. Woodson was reasonable and justified."
Birmingham attorneys Annesley DeGaris, Stephen Strickland and Jeremy Applebaum filed the 22-page lawsuit on behalf of Woodson's widow.
Birmingham lawyer James Porter II is representing the city and the two officers in the matter.