Lawsuit: Tulsa Co. deputy body slammed cuffed man, collapsed his lung
While the deputy wasn't placed on administrative leave, the charges against the man he arrested and allegedly slammed to the ground were dropped.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to accurately state parties named in the lawsuit.
A man is suing a Tulsa County sheriff's deputy he claimed broke his ribs and caused his lung to collapse when he slammed him to the ground in 2021.
The federal lawsuit claims deputy Justin Anderson violated Justin Walker’s fourth and fourteenth amendment rights — which prevent unlawful search and seizure, and prevent cruel and unusual punishment — in the use of force.
The sheriff’s office and board of county commissioners have declined to comment on the case, citing the ongoing litigation.
Walker’s attorney Derek Franseen claimed a reported assault that prompted the Nov. 25, 2021 response to Walker's family gathering didn’t happen. He also said Walker didn’t do anything illegal before Anderson placed him in handcuffs.
Sheriff's spokesperson Casey Roebuck said the sheriff's office didn't have an incident report of the arrest, which usually means the arrest was expunged. Franseen said Walker's charges were dropped.
Franseen claimed Anderson did a suplex move, or backwards body slam, on Walker.
"There was only one instance where the officer pinches his hands using the handcuffs, and he kind of flinches in response to the officer's actions," Franseen said. "At that point, he not only suplexes him, but he lets go of Walker prior to the suplex, which in our experience, you never want to release control of the suspect."
Franseen said Anderson was not wearing a body cam but said at least two people who were there corroborated the events. He said they plan to ask about the absence of body cam footage as the case progresses.
"We're just trying to move forward with collecting the statements of the officer and potentially his supervisors to determine what actions he should have taken in the situation," Franseen said.
Anderson was not placed on administrative leave from the incident, as the sheriff's office's internal affairs division found he didn’t violate department policy.
The original lawsuit also sued Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado for allegedly permitting practices Anderson is accused of. Regalado was dismissed from the lawsuit after Walker's legal team failed to show how he participated in the constitutional violations.
On Monday, commissioners agreed to pay law firm Wood, Puhl and Wood $250 an hour to represent Anderson and the sheriff in the case. The law firm did not immediately respond to phone calls from Public Radio Tulsa after the commissioners' meeting.
An initial court date for the case had not been scheduled as of Monday.