Lawsuit: Arkansas man left comatose after arrest

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — An excessive force lawsuit alleges that a police officer in northeastern Arkansas crushed a man’s trachea during an arrest, leaving him in a permanent vegetative state.

Blytheville attorneys Jim Harris and Zach Morrison filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing Blytheville officer Doyle Driskill of violating the civil rights of 29-year-old Rayshawn Warren during a Sept. 29 arrest. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Warren’s family, also names the city of Blytheville, the Blytheville Police Department and Police Chief Ross Thompson.

Driskill was responding to calls about an intoxicated man trying to enter homes when he confronted Warren, who was walking up to a house in downtown Blytheville, according to a police report. Warren ran away from Driskill, who then pursued, tackled and restrained him until other officers arrived.

Driskill used an “arm bar” restraint on Warren, resulting in the crushing of his trachea, the lawsuit states. Warren has remained comatose since the arrest, according to the lawsuit.

Morrison said Warren’s condition is unlikely to improve and his medical bills are estimated to exceed $250,000, to date.

Driskill said in the police report that Warren resisted officers’ attempts to handcuff him. He noted that officers used a Taser to stun Warren’s thighs and abdomen, but that he continued to resist.

Warren was charged with public intoxication, fleeing on foot and failure to submit to arrest.

Officers believed Warren “was in a state of excited delirium where subjects display extreme mental and physiological excitement characterized by extreme agitation, hyperthermia, hostility, exceptional strength and endurance without fatigue,” said Thompson, the police chief.

Warren went into cardiac arrest after medical personnel arrived to provide treatment, Thompson said.

He said that medical records show Warren had amphetamines and THC in his system during the encounter.

Thompson declined to comment further because the arrest is under investigation, but he confirmed that there’s body camera footage of the incident. The Arkansas State Police is investigating the arrest.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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