Federal civil rights lawsuit filed against South Carolina MPs

GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – Five MPs from the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office face federal civil rights lawsuit alleging man was illegally arrested at his home, says MPs used force unnecessary and excessive during the arrest, and said the man’s First Amendment rights were violated.

The five MPs involved in the trial include MP Jonathon Cooper, MP James Berggrun, MP Charles Lancaster, MP John Thomas Edwards and Sergeant Michael Kastner. The plaintiff in this case is listed as Thomas Charles Felton Jones.

The trial shows that the arrest took place on July 21, 2018 off Lyncrest Street in Greenville County.

It was at this point that court documents claim MPs Cooper and Lancaster arrested one of Jones’ friends in his backyard for carrying out a stop sign.

It was part of an “aggressive patrol special operations task force” that was used by lawmakers when policing neighborhoods, according to the lawsuit.

He goes on to say that that’s when Jones walked into the front yard to ask why his friend had been arrested and started recording the event on his phone.

The lawsuit says the officer answered Jones’ question, then radioed for backup.

It was then that one of the deputies aggressively approached him asking him to vacate the premises and told him to back down or be arrested for interference, according to the lawsuit. Jones said that’s when Edwards, Kastner and Berggrun arrived at the scene.

Court documents allege Jones retreated, but not as far as MPs wanted, so the quote “a whole aggressive patrol unit then rushed at Jones.”

The lawsuit claims MPs then beat Jones, pushed his face to the ground, and then shoved him until he passed out. EMS arrived at the scene to assess Jones before he was taken to the Greenville County Detention Center.

According to court documents, Jones was never armed during the altercation, nor is it indicated that MPs thought he was at the time.

Jones was later acquitted of assaulting an officer, but was convicted of interfering with police.

Jones’ attorney, Kyle J White, sent 7 News a statement stating in part: “Due to the nature of the pending litigation, we cannot comment much more than the pleadings allegations at this time, but we let us stand firmly by these allegations “.

In an April deposition, two of the deputies admitted that the unit was called the “aggressive patrol unit”.

7 News has contacted the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office for comment on the lawsuit, we are still awaiting a response.

According to court documents, the defendants have until October 18 to respond to the court summons.

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