Alabama Deputy Sued After Cuffing An Arrestee So Tightly His Hand Had To Be Amputated

from the cruelty-is-often-the-point dept

There’s a saying lots of cops and cop defenders use. It rhymes, so it’s easy to remember and even easier to deploy carelessly anytime someone expresses doubts about excessive force or excessive sentencing.

“Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”

Thanks, Baretta. I’m not sure how Robert Blake feels about this catchphrase after his trip through the criminal justice system, but it nonetheless persists.

But what happens if you don’t do the crime, still do the time, and then have something truly awful happen to you as a result of your forced “interaction” with local law enforcement? Well, things like this happen… things that should never happen.

Before Giovanni Loyola was arrested in February 2020, he enjoyed using his hands and worked mainly in construction. Now the 26-year-old is unable to fasten his own belt or tie his shoes, his attorney said.

Loyola had segments of fingers removed in several operations last year, and doctors ultimately had to amputate his entire left hand. According to a federal civil rights complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama last month, the amputation was the result of injuries sustained from being left for hours in overly tight handcuffs after a disorderly-conduct arrest.

Yeah, that’s the “time” Loyola will be doing for the rest of his life for the “crime” of telling sheriff’s deputies there was no altercation happening at his home. The lawsuit [PDF] (which the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post apparently can’t afford to make available at its website) says Jefferson County (Alabama) deputy Christopher Godber showed up at Loyola’s mothers house in response to reports two males were fighting and carrying weapons.

Loyola was watching TV at the time and no fighting was happening at the residence. Apparently, Deputy Godber didn’t care for the “nothing to see here, please move along” answers he was receiving from Loyola. So, he needlessly escalated the situation.

When Plaintiff answered the door he asked the deputies standing there what was wrong. Deputy Godber, without answering and without asking permission to enter the home, reached inside the doorway, grabbed Plaintiff by the wrist and jerked him outside the home and down the steps.

Deputy Godber then slammed Plaintiff against a car, threw him to the ground and punched him in the face with his fist.

Deputy Godber then cuffed Plaintiff’s hands together behind his back extremely tightly and placed his knee on Plaintiff’s upper back with Deputy Godber’s weight on the knee.

According to the lawsuit, Deputy Godber had a good 50 pounds on the person he was restraining, not to mention the advantage of having both of his hands uncuffed. Godber still holds the advantage, months after this arrest, with Loyola losing one hand to Godber’s refusal to loosen the cuffs.

Loyola then spent the weekend in jail. He was arrested for “contempt of cop:” disturbing the peace and resisting arrest. Outstanding warrants for traffic violations kept him in jail for ten more days. He was given no medical treatment while incarcerated. By the time he was released, it was too late to save his hand.

After Plaintiff got out of jail on February 28, 2020, his left wrist was still in tremendous pain. He went to Christ Health Center where the physician provided him with a medical excuse stating that “[h]e was found to have a severe problem with blood flow to his left hand and is in need of emergent surgery.”

Plaintiff was admitted to St. Vincent’s East and remained there until March 2, 2020. 28. On February 28, upon admission to the Emergency Department, the notes state that Plaintiff had “gray fingertips and concern for necrosis of the left hand. He has had increasing pain in his fingertips after he was handcuffed 4 days ago and sent in from Christ Health Center for rule out of dissection.”

First, surgeons removed two fingertips. But the necrosis had advanced too far to save the hand.

Plaintiff went home but returned to the hospital on March 17, 2020, complaining of extreme pain in his fingers. Plaintiff was admitted to the hospital on March 17, 2020 and remained there until March 25, 2020. Those medical records state that “He reports he was arrested about 3 weeks ago and after wearing handcuffs his fingers turned blue and became painful.”

Over the next ten months Plaintiff went to Saint Vincent’s Hospital and then to UAB for continued treatment of his hand, but due to the injuries inflicted on him by the deputies’ improper use of handcuffs, Plaintiff’s left hand has had to be amputated.

Apart from the obvious senseless permanent injury inflicted on Loyola, the lawsuit also alleges other Fourth Amendment violations, like the illegal seizure of Loyola by the deputy who dragged him out of his house before throwing him to the ground and cuffing him, And there was a supposed “safety sweep” of the house no one was fighting in — one that happened with all residents outside of the home and (obviously) without a warrant.

“Don’t do the crime.” But no crime had occurred until Deputy Godber escalated the situation by reaching across the house’s threshold to grab Loyola. Anything that happened past that point was pretty much manufactured by the deputy’s deployment of force. The incident report claims Loyola was “drunk and belligerent” but those aren’t criminal acts, especially since Loyola was still in his own home — right up until Deputy Godber dragged him out of it. Calling the violent arrest an “altercation” is just standard exonerative prose — something seen in pretty much every report covering deployments of excessive force.

This call could have been handled without an arrest and without a man losing his hand and his livelihood. But it wasn’t because the law enforcement officer on the scene decided it had to go the way it did. At the end of this — even if Loyola wins in court — Deputy Godber will still have his job and both of his hands. At worst, he may only be out of a job temporarily. But the punishment inflicted on Loyola by Godber will last a lifetime.

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Comments on “Alabama Deputy Sued After Cuffing An Arrestee So Tightly His Hand Had To Be Amputated”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Why go to North Korea when you can get the same treatment here?

At the end of this — even if Loyola wins in court — Deputy Godber will still have his job and both of his hands. At worst, he may only be out of a job temporarily. But the punishment inflicted on Loyola by Godber will last a lifetime.

Imagine any other job where ‘assaulted and maimed a person so badly that they lost a hand‘ wasn’t seen as immediate grounds to fire them and bring charges and odds are good to get there you’re imagining something that you’d usually only find in a brutal dictatorship.

It would not surprise me in the least if the courts gave the goon in blue a pass on this, whether dismissing it because it was just a ‘silly accident’ or brushing it aside because there hasn’t yet been a case specifically finding that cuffing a person so tightly that the limb loses blood circulation means the thug had no way to know that that was a bad thing, but the fact that this is ‘just another day ending in Y’ when it comes to american policing rather than an abhorent yet rare exception really says a lot about just how rotten, violent and corrupt US police are.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"It’s almost as if police were racist."

I realize that you’re trying out sarcasm here but…we’re talking about the Alabama heartland here. what would be surprising would be to find an officer who wasn’t a card-carrying member of any of the 20 or so major hate groups seated in that state.

Reallyreal says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

You all are not using all your brain cells here: don’t you all think that if Loyola could have used the racism claim he would’ve included that in his lawsuit???…none of you are asking any questions whatsoever and just jumping straight to hate ironically what you all claim to hate about cops…Maybe just Maybeeee the cop has family that aren’t white so Loyola couldn’t make that accusation?…and don’t jump to assumptions about me being a cop lover either…I may or may not have grown up visiting prisons my whole life or I may or may not have a grandfather that was a cop…My point is no one on these forums knows shit about shit…everyone wants to comment but no one actually gives a damn about the real truth unless it validates whatever propaganda they’re pushing…think for yourselves people and ask questions when 1+1doesnt equal 2…Dont be mindless sheep to lazy to ask questions…

Reallyreal says:

Re: Re: Re:

And you know this because???…you were there???…you saw the body cam footage???…cops have a “tattle tail” attached to them called a body cam…filing posted in this article says Loyola stayed in jail for outstanding warrants so the dude had warrants…says he was a construction worker too maybe he hit his damn hand with a hammer and decided he wanted to get back at the cop and get rich doing it?…I don’t know bc I wasn’t there but I damn sure don’t jump on a band wagon Willy nilly…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

And you know this because???…you were there???…you saw the body cam footage???…cops have a “tattle tail” attached to them called a body cam…filing posted in this article says Loyola stayed in jail for outstanding warrants so the dude had warrants…says he was a construction worker too maybe he hit his damn hand with a hammer and decided he wanted to get back at the cop and get rich doing it?…I don’t know bc I wasn’t there but I damn sure don’t jump on a band wagon Willy nilly…

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David says:

Re: Re:

On second thought: why should team USA be ashamed of how it treats its criminals? Just look what it did here: it gave one of them a badge and a gun and subjects to rule over and will more likely than not pony up for his legal defense.

What else could a criminal wish for? A seat in Congress?

Una says:

Re: you really think being white would have saved him?

no seriously… you really think cops dont target white guys who look like they wont be able to fight back, physically, let alone legally?

hell i look like i could have been a threat,(big guy), yet, cops knew i was poor/poor-ish and couldnt fight back…and spent years making me stand for a minimum of 45min as they "ran" my id, because "you look like somebody we are looking for", it was just harassment but, due to the actions of the cop before them, i had to just grin and bare it, see i was falsely accused of rape, later to learn the cop even knew she was lied to, and threatened the girl who lied, but also admitted to my face, it helped her carrier alot, and, from her view, it taught men and boys like me a lesson, dont fuck with women if you value your life… she genuinely said that and worse… and since statute of limitations was up a year earlier… and my life was so wrecked and ruined, i couldnt find meaningful work, not to talk about relationships… decades later, nothing i have been able to try, has been able to rebuild even a semblance of the life i was on the path to having… nothing grand… just wanted a job or business i enjoyed, wife, kids… a family of my own…

i had to finely accept what everybody in the know told me, win or lose, my life ended the moment she lied.. nothing can repair the damage done.. outside great wealth… outside that… there is no treatment let alone cure for the damage done by those kind of lies… you are from that point forward, whatever the person said you are, regardless of the truth and your ability to disprove the lies.. society and the system do not care…at all…you arent a person anymore, you are a sub-human thing, an example of why its never ok to upset/offend a woman so badly she would say such things… because in modern society/culture… even turning somebody who just wants sex from you down, because you are with somebody..or just not interested, is a form of rape in and of itself.. emotional rape, psychological rape, so, when she claims you raped her… you raped her… thats how she sees it, thats how society sees it.. you could be over 3k miles away on the other side of the country, and, it dosnt matter they will just open it from "a week and a half, ta two weeks ago" to "sometime in the 6mo before that" as you keep proving the claims are not possible.. nobody cares…

just like in the end, nobody gives a shit when cops harm or kill people, as long as the media dosnt tell them its happening, they dont give a shit… and never have…

Wyrm (profile) says:

Losing a hand in an unjustified arrest. That’s pretty harsh, doesn’t happen often and severely penalizes the victim… for not being immediately and completely subservient to a cop.

If only there was a law against… I don’t know… cruel and unusual punishments. We could even write that in the Constitution. As an amendment. Right between the 7th and the 9th.

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