A Ferguson police officer who was part of an effort to detain dangerous Washington Post and HuffPo journalists in a Ferguson, MO McDonald’s earlier this month is in the midst of a civil rights lawsuit. According to a lawsuit filed in 2012, Officers Justin Cosma and Richard Carter approached a 12-year-old boy who was checking the mailbox at the end of his driveway.
Cosma, who was with the nearby Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at the time of the incident in June 2010 and Carter allegedly asked the boy if he had been playing on a nearby driveway, to which the boy replied, “no.” The lawsuit states that the officers “became confrontational” and intimidated the child. “Unprovoked and without cause, the deputies grabbed [the boy], choked him around the neck and threw him to the ground,” the document states. The boy, who was shirtless at the time, “suffered bruising, choke marks, scrapes and cuts across his body.” In addition, the suit alleges that the officers “hog-tied” the child.
The boy, referenced in the suit as “DB,” was taken to a medical facility for treatment, but the incident was reported as “assault of a law enforcement officer third degree” and resisting/interfering with arrest, detention or stop.” Prosecutors “refused to issue a juvenile case” against the child, according to the suit.
Richard R. Lozano, a lawyer representing “DB,” told the Huffington Post,
“The lawsuit alleges that Justin Cosma and Richard Carter, two deputies with the Jefferson County, Missouri sheriff’s department in 2010, assaulted my client during an encounter on my client’s driveway while his mother was inside their house. My client was 12 years old at the time, shirtless and was not suspected of any criminal behavior. He was checking the mail. The deputies approached my client and the encounter quickly escalated. My client was restrained, choked, thrown to the ground and hogtied by the two deputies. He suffered scrapes and choke marks to his neck. No charges were ever brought against my client. It is my understanding that Justin Cosma is currently an officer with the City of Ferguson.”
Another Ferguson officer, Eddie Boyd III, also faced allegations of hitting children during his time with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Boyd faced three complaints of physical abuse against children in a period of two years, two of which were dropped. Internal Affairs determined that there was sufficient evidence in the third complaint to support a claim that he bashed a 12-year-old girl in the head with a pistol, and recommended that Boyd be fired. Instead, the St. Louis Police chose to demote him.
Less than a year later, after a teenage boy said that Boyd hit him in the nose with a gun, the officer resigned from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Sometime between July 2009 and December 2010, he was hired by the Ferguson Police Department.
Ferguson has a habit of picking up the trash cast off by neighboring police departments. Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown, was terminated from his job with the Jennings Police Department after the entire force was disbanded amid rampant corruption and racism. Wilson left Jennings with a clean record, but given the department’s history of abusing the predominantly African-American population–can we really trust that?
Are all police bad? Not by a long shot. However, at this point, we must ask: Is there a decent police officer in Ferguson?
Court documents are included below: