A truck driver who says he suffered a stroke after Atlanta police officers used excessive force on him plans to take legal action.
Derek Holmes put the city of Atlanta and its Police Department on notice that a lawsuit is in the works. He said officers snatched him from his car and his head hit the concrete as he pulled into a southwest Atlanta gas station at University Avenue and Pryor Road in January.
"I have severe brain damage right now," Holmes told Channel 2’s Tom Jones. "I was snatched out of the car and slammed to the ground. My head banged to the ground."
He said when his head hit the ground, he suffered a massive stroke.
"I stayed in ICU for four days," Holmes said.
He said it all began after officers converged on his car. According to a police report, an off-duty firefighter told officers Holmes was driving recklessly. But Holmes said he was driving behind one of the officers who eventually stopped him.
"He kind of blocked me off from going in there," he said.
Police said Holmes failed a field sobriety test. Holmes said that was because of the stroke he suffered, but officers charged him with drunken driving and reckless driving.
When officers took Holmes to the hospital, both charges were dismissed before he was even released from custody, his attorney, Marsha Mignott, said.
Mignott said toxicology tests showed no drugs or alcohol in Holmes' system.
In a memo, a Grady Hospital social worker requested Holmes charges be dropped, saying Holmes had suffered a stroke, which led to his arrest. The memo did not explain how he suffered it, or if a blow to the head led to the stroke.
"I think these officers need to be fired. This gentleman could have died," Mignott said.
Atlanta police released a statement saying the department cannot comment on open internal investigations.
"Without commenting on the specifics of this case, it should be noted that the department expects its officers to conduct themselves appropriately at all times. OPS investigations are intended to ensure department policies and procedures are followed and discipline officers and employees who fail to adhere to those standards," said Carlos Campos, public affairs manager.
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