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The interaction between the four allegedly became hostile and triggered a seizure in Smith, who has epilepsy, the suit claims.
The officers were aware of the plaintiff’s condition, the suit says, but claimed they thought he had illegal drugs. They handcuffed Smith, the suit claims, and tried to pry his mouth open. Afterward they left Smith handcuffed and face down on the floor, according to the lawsuit.
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He regained consciousness later at the hospital and was still in handcuffs, the suit alleges. Smith was never charged after the series of events.
The lawsuit was filed Jan. 11. The city just learned about it late Thursday, Strozdas said.
“I have done a preliminary review of the case and it is apparent to me there is no misconduct on part of the officers,” Strozdas said.
It’s the city’s intention to defend the officers, he said, and no decisions have been made about approaches or strategies.
The Springfield News-Sun contacted Smith’s lawyer listed in the lawsuit, Kurtis G. Black, but didn’t receive a call back.
The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial.