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Local man files lawsuit against police officer, city

Jan. 15, 2013 @ 12:26 AM

HUNTINGTON — A Huntington man has filed a federal lawsuit against a Huntington police officer and the city, alleging the officer violated his civil rights by beating him with a deadly weapon after he had been handcuffed.
The plaintiff, William Hedrick Jr., asks for monetary damages in the lawsuit, which was filed Jan. 10 in U.S. District Court in Huntington.
Hedrick alleges in the lawsuit that officer Christopher Merritt arrested him for several misdemeanor charges Jan. 11, 2011. During the arrest, Merritt ordered Hedrick to the ground and had his hands cuffed behind his back. As Hedrick lay face down on the ground, Merritt began an unprovoked attack against Hedrick, according to the complaint.
“During this unprovoked attack, officer Merritt repeatedly beat Mr. Hedrick with an asp (baton) causing severe bruising and injuries from his ankles to his buttocks,” according to the complaint.
All charges against Hedrick were dismissed.
The lawsuit states that Merritt’s actions constitute assault and battery and that the city is negligent for failing to adequately train, supervise and discipline its officers. City attorney Scott McClure said Monday he had not yet seen the lawsuit and declined to comment any further.
Hedrick is represented by Huntington attorneys Rich Weston, Connor Robertson and Courtenay Craig. The attorneys also represent another Huntington man who filed a federal lawsuit Aug. 24, 2012, against three Huntington Police officers and the city. In that lawsuit, Joseph Pniewski alleges that the officers violated his civil rights in 2011 when they unlawfully detained him, seized his video camera and deleted a recording of the officers searching a vehicle. The lawsuit is still pending.
Follow H-D reporter Bryan Chambers on Facebook or Twitter@BryanChambersHD.

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