A Kennedale man has filed a federal lawsuit against two North Texas police officers over claims of excessive use of force, following a 2020 incident when he claimed he was punched 16 times in the face with a metal flashlight from a agent.
The man fled from several officers, but later stopped and, according to the charges, was also struck several times in the head with an officer’s weapon.
The police dashboard and body cameras recorded video of one of the defendants hitting Clinton Grimsley with the flashlight and later said, according to the lawsuit, that “we handled him pretty well. It will be a significant use of force. I ended up getting a lot of blood in my mouth – it’s like a bitter taste.”
Grimsley’s attorneys filed the lawsuit in Fort Worth in April.
The lawsuit identified the defendants as Kennedale Officer Christoper Kjelsen and Mansfield Officer Brian Raines.
“This case is a clear example of when an officer exceeds the force required in a particular situation by using excessive lethal force in violation of the Constitution,” Addison’s James Roberts, one of Grimsley’s attorneys, said in an email. “Mr Grimsley was unarmed and stopped by several officers on the ground when Officer Brian Raines of the Mansfield Police Department struck him 16 times in the face with a metal flashlight, causing predictable and significant injuries.”
Kennedale Police Chief Darrell Hull declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Mansfield Police said they would not comment on an pending lawsuit.
In a court document filed June 13 in response to the lawsuit, Kjelsen admitted that Grimsley was hit on the head during a struggle, but the officer said Grimsley refused to obey, fought officers and tried to take control of Kjelsen’s taser. and get a gun. Kjelsen’s response says Grimsley beat and injured more than one officer and that the force used by the police was reasonable.
On the same day, Raines also filed a response in federal court, saying he denied violating Grimsley’s rights and denied that the violence used was unjustified. Raines admitted to hitting Grimsley on the head, “sometimes with his hand alone and sometimes with his flashlight in his hand,” but denied hitting him 16 times and denied laughing at the use of force, according to the document. .
Both officers also claim they are entitled to qualified immunity from federal claims.
Grimsley’s lawsuit gave this account of the incident:
On the night of April 11, 2020, Kennedale officers Brian Andrews and Charles Burns were dispatched to Grimsley’s home in Kennedale, where they responded to calls that Grimsley started fires in his front yard and hit his porch with an object.
Burns and Andrews ran into Grimsley as he was walking from the side of his house, and they ordered him to drop a toy sword he was carrying and raise his hands.
Grimsley obeyed, and then he was ordered to sit on the porch.
Burns asked him to talk to a doctor and Grimsley said, “That’s why I was praying.”
Burns ordered Grimsley to get up so he could check for weapons. Officers took a pocketknife from his pocket and began handcuffing him, but Grimsley fled from them when he feared they would hurt him, the suit says.
Grimsley ran off with one arm handcuffed.
Officer Kjelsen drove up, pointed his gun at Grimsley and ordered him to stand on the ground.
Grimsley sat down and stretched his arms away from his body.
Kjelsen wrote in a police report that he ran to Grimsley and tripped and fell on Grimsley’s back.
The lawsuit said the officer’s body camera showed Kjelsen running to Grimsley and kicking him in the head.
The camera showed that Grimsley did not threaten any officer or person at the time, the indictment said.
Kjelsen then stepped on top of Grimsley and punched Grimsley in the back of the head with a pistol, hitting him several times, the suit says.
Minutes later, Raines, the Mansfield officer, arrived at the scene and almost immediately began hitting Grimsley in the face with a flashlight, according to the suit.
Raines’ body camera recorded him hitting Grimsley 16 times with his metal flashlight, the suit says.
Raines made several statements after Grimsley was placed in a patrol vehicle, according to the video, saying, “No, I hit him pretty good and got a (expletive) ton of blood in my mouth.”
Raines added, “I punched him and punched him in the face with the flashlight,” the lawsuit says. “That’s where the injuries will come from.”
Roberts, the attorney, said: “Agent Raines laughed and talked lightly about dirtying his flashlight when he bloodied it and beat Mr. Grimsley to a pulp. This is the kind of behavior that needs to be banned by law enforcement before communities can fully rely on it.” that law enforcement officers are truly there to protect and serve.”
Grimsley’s injuries were so serious, according to the charges, that a paramedic at the scene expressed concern to officers, saying: “I don’t know if he opened anything, but now he’s bleeding a lot. He’s bleeding a lot in his head now. He really sucks that mask up. Will the prison take him like this?”
Grimsley suffered several lacerations to his face and head, a broken left orbital floor and permanent scars, the lawsuit says.
As of last week, Kjelsen was still an officer with the Kennedale Police Department. Raines is a sergeant with the Mansfield Police Department.
Grimsley was charged with assaulting a peace officer, evading arrest and resisting arrest, according to Tarrant County criminal records.
The charge of assaulting a peace officer was dismissed, but he was sentenced to 150 days in prison on the other two charges, according to court records.
Grimsley was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2002 for the murder of his father in August 2001.
He beat his father to death with the butt of a shotgun.