By Tanni Deb, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution #atlanta-ga (CNT)
A Stone Mountain man is suing two Gwinnett County police officers, their department and the county for $10 million for repeatedly using a Taser on him during an arrest for jaywalking, according to Channel 2 Action News.
John Efford, 29, told Channel 2 he filed a lawsuit Monday, more than 18 months after the incident on Holcomb Bridge Road.
Efford told the news station that he was on his way to a job interview when two officers stopped him for crossing the road outside a crosswalk. Police warned him, but Efford didn’t listen to their commands, Channel 2 said.
Body camera footage obtained by the news station appears to show Efford on the ground claiming not to have done anything when the officer first uses his Taser. He can be seen writhing in pain as electricity from the stun gun courses through his body.
While he was being handcuffed in the middle of the road by a second officer, the first officer deploys his Taser again into the man’s back, the footage shows.
“Hands behind your back now,” the officer said to him. “You’re going to get Tased again.”
As he was led to the police car in handcufffs, Efford asked the police what he did wrong.
“You jaywalked — again,” an officer replies. “Right in front of us. Again, bro.”
Efford was charged with two counts of obstruction and crossing a street outside a crosswalk, but those charges were dropped after prosecutors saw video of the arrest, his attorney said.
Efford called it an act of excessive force and told the news station that the experience has “traumatized” him.
“I don’t like to be around police officers,” he said.
An internal investigation into the officers’ use of force determined their actions were consistent with department policy because Efford refused to follow verbal commands and physically resisted, Channel 2 reported at the time.
One of the officers involved, Charles Bynum, was fired in September in an unrelated case, Channel 2 reported. AJC.com has reached out to the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office and the Gwinnett County Police Department for more information.
Gwinnett police told Channel 2 it does not comment on pending litigation. According to the news station, the county has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit in court.