MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Police Department has been hit with a $6 million lawsuit brought by two men who say police used excessive force during their arrests in April.
Justin Griham and Emmanuel Meniru were with a group riding ATVs near Lamar and Knight Arnold on April 4 when they were stopped by police.
Police say they were doing wheelies and performing dangerous stunts on busy roads near the airport, and accused Griham and Meniru of hitting or trying to hit their vehicles with the ATVs.
During a chase, one of the officers hit the ATVs. The men say the officer rammed them without warning.
Video of the incident has circulated on Facebook. You can see it here. (WARNING: PROFANITY)
That officer was relieved of duty pending an investigation into the arrest at the time. Both men were rushed to area hospitals.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal district court in Memphis. It names the city as well as several officers as defendants, and alleges not only physical injury but violation of constitutional rights.
The lawsuit claims officers “Taiyuan Brooks” and “A. Malone” hit the ATVs without warning. It claims one of the riders sustained a broken rib but was handcuffed anyway, which they say caused further injuries.
Griham and Meniru say they never posed any threat to the officers, and claim police used their vehicles as weapons.
Both face several misdemeanor charges for traffic violations. Griham is also charged with a felony count of evading arrest.
Their criminal cases are still pending in court, but now this lawsuit claims police had no probable cause to arrest them. The men are asking for $6 million in damages, saying the experience left them fearful of future contact with police.