man has filed a federal lawsuit
against a local deputy, alleging that he had to have his hand amputated after the deputy handcuffed him for hours, causing his fingers to turn black.
Giovanni Loyola claims that last year's excessive force by a Jefferson County sheriff's deputy violated his civil rights
and resulted in debilitating injuries in a lawsuit filed last month but only recently made public by local media
“I felt really bad, and I started breaking down and crying,” Loyola said of doctors telling him his hand couldn't be saved after four surgeries.
On Feb. 16, 2020, the 26-year-old was watching television
at his mother's home in Pinson, northeast of Birmingham, when he claims deputies came to his door and forcefully pulled him outside when he answered. He claims one deputy, identified in the lawsuit as Godber, slammed him against a car and then to the ground, punched him in the face, and handcuffed him.
According to Loyola's lawsuit, according to a police
report of the incident, authorities received a call about two possibly armed men fighting in the neighborhood.
Loyola claims he maintained his innocence throughout his arrest and repeatedly requested that his handcuffs
be removed as one of his hands became numb. While he was pinned to the ground, with Godber allegedly forcing his knee into his back, two deputies went into his mother's trailer
without a search warrant to perform a "safety sweep," according to his suit.
According to the lawsuit, “the deputies did not have a warrant to enter the home, and there were no exigent circumstances that would allow them to enter the home without a warrant.”
In a subsequent report to the magistrate, obtained by AL.com, Godber described Loyola as drunk and physically combative with deputies.
According to the report, “Giovanni Loyola was intoxicated and arguing with family members so loudly inside his home that it could be heard from the public roadway.”
Loyola was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct/disturbing the peace and resisting arrest, and he was released on Feb. 28 after serving extra time for outstanding warrants for previous traffic violations and failure to appear, according to AL.com. On the day of his release, he sought medical attention for his hand, which was still causing him extreme pain after he'd been locked in a constricted hand.
Loyola was hospitalized after complaining that his fingertips had turned gray; he was discharged on March 2 but returned a little more than two weeks later due to ongoing extreme pain in his fingers; he continued to return to the hospital for treatment in the months that followed, but due to his injuries, his left hand eventually had to be amputated, according to his suit.
Loyola's lawsuit seeks compensatory damages against Godber, including extreme emotional distress, physical pain, lost income, legal fees, and medical expenses, as well as punitive damages "sufficient to punish him and deter further wrongdoing."
Stardia's request for comment was not immediately responded to by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office on Thursday.
According to Thor Eells, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association, which provides training and education
to law enforcement personnel, severe injuries from handcuffs are "extremely rare."
However, a number of factors could have contributed to them, including an officer failing to activate a double-lock that prevents the handcuffs from tightening on their own, particularly when the person wearing them fidgets or moves around, he said.
“Sometimes they get tighter and the officer isn’t even aware of it unless someone complains about it,” he explained.
, including New Jersey
, and Texas
, have filed lawsuits claiming permanent nerve damage from handcuffs.