A man is suing the city of Markham and two of its police officers, alleging he was "brutally assaulted" during a traffic stop in March.
Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law brought the federal lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of LaFayette Thomas, a resident of Markham in south suburban Cook County.
The 47-year-old plaintiff was a passenger in his father's car on March 17 when Markham police officer William Brazil pulled the men over, according to the lawsuit.
Thomas' father Cleophus Marshall was arrested during the stop for driving on an expired license. Thomas was not charged with any crimes.
Thomas alleges Brazil repeatedly slammed him onto the hood of the police car during the stop, causing his "chest and face to hit the vehicle," according to the lawsuit.
Thomas, who is in "extremely fragile health," has sickle cell disease and had brain surgery not long before the alleged assault, his attorneys said. Thomas and his father claim to have been traveling to Thomas' doctor to pick up medicine when they were pulled over.
According to the lawsuit, the alleged "assault left Thomas with severe contusions and swelling to his arms, shoulder, face, and chest, and sent him into a severe health crisis from which he still has not fully recovered."
The lawsuit details more on the alleged attack: "Thomas begged Defendant Officer Brazil to stop, telling him that he had sickle cell anemia and had recently had brain surgery. Defendant Officer Brazil did not stop. Instead, he told Thomas 'There's nothing wrong with you,' or words to that effect, and slammed Thomas's head into the car several more times."
The attack allegedly occurred after Brazil "began yelling and swearing at Thomas" after he asked the officer for his name, Thomas' attorneys said.
Thomas claims the officer was not wearing a name badge or his uniform hat during the stop. Thomas, however, "later learned that the officer was Defendant Officer Brazil," according to the lawsuit.
In addition to Brazil, the city of Markham and police officer Zakiya Larry are named as defendants in the lawsuit.
Larry was an arriving officer on the scene who allegedly witnessed the attack but did not intervene to stop it, according to the lawsuit.
After a tow truck arrived on the scene and removed Marshall's vehicle, the officers allegedly left Thomas "stranded alone in the parking lot."
The officers left the scene without offering "any transportation or medical assistance to Thomas, even though he was obviously injured and in need of medical care," the lawsuit states.
Thomas alleges his Fourth Amendment rights were violated.
"Thomas had done absolutely nothing to warrant any use of force against him, much less the extreme and excessive force used by Defendant Officer Brazil. He had committed no crime; he had given the officers no reason to suspect him of a crime; he had not even violated a traffic law," the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit alleges the city of Markham "is responsible for the incident because it has known Officer Brazil's pattern of misconduct for years and has done nothing to stop it," reads a statement from Loevy & Loevy.
In the past five years, Brazil has been a named defendant in at least four civil rights lawsuits, according to Thomas' attorneys.
"That Markham has known about this serial misconduct by Officer Brazil, including at the highest levels and yet taken no effective actions, is a serious abdication of their responsibilities to the people that they are supposed to serve," said one of Thomas' attorneys, Gretchen Helfrich of Loevy & Loevy.
Representatives from the city of Markham and the Markham Police Department did not immediately respond to Progress Illinois' requests for comment.