Skip to comments.Minister, 92, sues Salisbury Police officer who tackled him to the floor
Posted on 03/08/2014 5:57:28 AM PST by lwd
SALISBURY A 92-year-old retired minister has filed a civil complaint against a Salisbury Police officer claiming the officer used unreasonable force in tackling him and breaking two bones.
The Rev. J.W. Loy Jr., who had been a resident at the Salisbury Gardens assisted-living facility at the time, was hospitalized for four days after the April 4, 2013, incident.
This isnt about anybody but my daddy and a police officer who stepped over the line, said Loys daughter, Shari Keller.
Filed Feb. 26 in Rowan County Superior Court, Loys suit names Police Officer Chris Hamm and the city of Salisbury as defendants.
It asks for a jury trial.
I feel confident any jury hearing the case will exonerate the officer, said Scott MacLatchie, a Charlotte attorney representing Hamm and the city against the suit.
MacLatchie said Hamm did nothing wrong and was not reprimanded, suspended or put on leave because of the incident.
Because a person was injured during a police officers use of force doesnt mean the use of force was unreasonable, MacLatchie added.
The attorney said Hamm could have used more force than he did against Loy but showed restraint because of the ministers advanced age.
Loys suit seeks seven claims for relief and compensatory damages of more than $10,000. The two sides met and tried to reach an out-of-court settlement but were unsuccessful, Keller said.
Salisbury attorney Randy Reamer is representing Loy, a well-traveled Baptist minister in the area who once had a radio show on WSAT and a periodic column in the Salisbury Post.
In 1961, Loy received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Trinity College in Dunedin, Fla. The schools most famous graduate is evangelist Dr. Billy Graham.
Loy served on Trinity Colleges executive board for seven consecutive three-year terms. In 1981 the school made him an honorary lifetime member of its executive board only the third person who had received that honor.
According to the complaint, Loy had been living at Salisbury Gardens for more than a year and was well known to staff and the residents as a gentle soul who was always ready to help others as a witness for God.
Account of events
Heres what happened April 4, as related by the filing and Loys daughter.
Around supper, Loy developed a urinary tract infection and was running a fever. He had not taken his prescription medications and had become disoriented and confused, growing upset in the common area of Salisbury Gardens.
He refused to obey instructions from the staff to calm down and return to his room to take the medications.
The nursing staff called Loys family to assist. Shari Keller said she was recovering from a second knee operation, and she sent her husband, Rex, to Salisbury Gardens.
She also gave the Salisbury Gardens staff permission to call Rowan County Emergency Medical Services to transport Loy to the hospital.
When theres evidence of an uncooperative patient, EMS will not respond without a call for assistance to law enforcement.
The Salisbury Police officers answering were Hamm and J.S. Lakey, who was being trained by Hamm.
Before police arrived, Rex Keller showed up, and he and other staff members were able to lead Loy to his private room.
Reverend Loy was in a calm state ... in his room when the officers entered the room, the complaint says.
Shari Keller said her fathers demeanor changed when he saw the officers.
That really confused Daddy as to what they were doing there, she said.
Loy became agitated again, stood up and was trying to talk with Lakey. Shari Keller said Loy thought Lakey was some kind of security officer with Salisbury Gardens, and he thought they were having a good conversation. Both had raised their voices because the profoundly deaf Loy was not wearing his hearing aids, she added.
At one point, Reverend Loy raised his cane even with his chest with both hands and shook it, the suit says. He did not raise the cane above his head or swing his cane at the officer. He did not present a threat to Officer Lakey.
Shari Keller said her father always talks with his hands and described him at that point as having both hands on his aluminum cane in front of his chest.
In talking with it, it would have been moving, she said.
The suit alleges Hamm then re-entered the room, tackled Loy and took him to the floor. Rex Keller and three staff members witnessed it, Shari said.
There was an audible cracking of bones when Reverend Loy was tackled, the complaint states.
On the ground, Loy was screaming in pain while Hamm said, What is your problem, you just assaulted an officer of the law, the suit states.
Shari Keller said tackle is an accurate word for what happened. It was pick him up, slam him to the floor, she said. The nurses were so upset they were in tears.
Hamm placed a knee in Loys back, pulled Loys arms behind him and handcuffed the minister. With Loy still on the floor, Hamm told Keller and the staff to stay back or leave the room, and he would not allow them to assist Loy, the suit claims.
Loy remained there until EMS arrived and transported him to the hospital.
The suit says Loy was treated for a comminuted right acetabular fracture and a nondisplaced fracture of the right inferior pubic ramus.
Shari Keller, a nurse, said her father had a broken pubic bone in the front and spider fractures in a fanlike hip bone in the back.
Loy, 91 at the time, did not return to Salisbury Gardens and is living in another facility.
MacLatchie stressed there was no intent on Hamms part to injure the retired minister as he was trying to take away Loys cane.
MacLatchie acknowledged Loys advanced age was a factor as it relates to his being injured more readily.
But courts across the country dealing with claims brought against police by older people have uniformly said the mere fact of a persons advanced age does not equate with the use of force as being unreasonable, MacLatchie added.
The Charlotte attorney said it has to be emphasized Loy was acting in a manner in which the Salisbury Gardens staff people Loy knew on a daily basis could not control him and called for help.
MacLatchie said Loys son-in-law also could not control Loy.
Loy raised his cane, stepped toward Lakey and Hamm reacted by grabbing Loy and going to the floor with him, trying to break the ministers fall, MacLatchie said.
Unfortunately, Mr. Loy was injured going to the ground, he added.
Small, frail man
Shari Keller said her father is a small, frail man, who has dealt with a series of health challenges in recent years. His legs, you could just about blow on him and he would fall down, she said.
Keller said she could understand an officers having to use force if a person were drunk at a bar and out of control, but if anybody perceived that little aluminum cane to be a threat...
I could have taken that cane away from Daddy with one hand, she added. ... If I had gone, Officer Hamm would have known what a cane was.
Keller said her father doesnt remember much from the incident because he was running a fever. It was all this hubbub, and he didnt know what was going on, she said.
But he does remember all of the people coming to his room, the tackle, the pain, wondering whether he would die as he lay on the ground and asking himself if he lived, would he be able to walk again.
Shari Keller said Loy lost the next four days in the hospital. He then went to a nursing home, where for six weeks he could not put any weight on his legs.
Therapy that followed worked aggressively on getting him up and moving again.
Loy is now in an assisted-living area and is able to walk very tentatively, Keller said. But mostly he is in a wheelchair and taking a narcotic for pain.
Just a few weeks before the incident at Salisbury Gardens, Loy was showing good strength and mentioned to Keller he would like to have a little job like being a greeter at Walmart, she said.
Loys suit states Hamms court appearance record shows a high propensity for Officer Hamm to charge offenders with resisting, delaying and obstructing and for himself to respond with force or excessive force in order to administer justice at the street level and not through the courts.
The suit suggests, too, that Hamm was trying to show off to Lakey, his trainee, at the expense of Loy.
If thats the way our officers are being trained, something needs to change fast, Shari Keller said.
The claim goes on to paint Hamm and other Salisbury Police officers as part of a culture engaging in this type of behavior for years and the city of Salisbury, as their employer, being aware of it but not acting to stop the conduct.
Loys attorney has submitted sets of interrogatories to Hamm and the city and requests for the production of documents pertaining to things such as what kind of training has been given to officers in the use of force.
Keller said all her father wanted at first was an apology from Hamm. What he did was wrong in anybodys eyes, she said.
But now Loy wants an apology and hopes the suit will make sure this kind of behavior doesnt continue, she said.
Keller asked if the officers truly thought Loy was assaulting or threatening them, why wasnt he charged with that offense.
The Salisbury Post published a feature story on Loy two years ago when he celebrated his 90th birthday at Salisbury Gardens.
Loy graduated from Granite Quarry High School in 1939, attended Catawba College from 1941-44, then went on to institutions such as the Clarksville School of Theology, Piedmont and Immanuel bible colleges and the Southeastern Baptist Seminary at Wake Forest University.
Loy often held weeklong tent revivals, and in 1943, organized South Albemarle Baptist Church.
Other churches followed for Loy over the next 20 years Centerview Baptist in Albemarle, Lexington Avenue Baptist in High Point and First Baptist Church in Locust, where he stayed from 1955 to 1965.
Loy led four church building programs as a pastor. He wrote two widely circulated booklets: The Gospel Tide and Anchors for the Soul.
His WSAT (Salisbury) radio show in the 1950s was called, The Word of Life. He wrote some newspaper sermons for the Salisbury Post in the 1970s.
Loy and his wife, Dot, have been married almost 68 years.
Loy loved to fish many times at City Park. He also flew a Piper Cub airplane and rode a vintage Indian motorcycle.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.
The only important factor is Police Officer Safety.
So what if a 92 year old useless-feeder had a few bones broken?
Officer Safety Uber Alles, Kameraden!
Hamm was stupid.
He broke pelvic bones in a 91-year old, who most like will never recover and will die from the ihjuries. I hope the family sues the city.
Unless a frail, old man in is 90s has a loaded gun pointed at you, there is no need for this type of “restraint”. I hope the jury finds in favor of the minister. Please keep us posted on this lwd.
The only important factor is Police Officer Safety.
So what if a 92 year old useless-feeder had a few bones broken?
Travis, I hope that you just forgot the “sarcasm” tag and you do not really mean this.
Reality is that the officer used excessive force on an old man. This man’s life is altered forever. I hope he gets a good settlement. No officer should use that kind of force on the elderly. They are frail.
My dad recently passed away. He fell while going to the mailbox and broke his neck. He was 88.
My personal opinion is that any “man” in his 20s - 50s that uses his physical force and weight against a man in his 80’s or 90’s, is someone who deserves to be beat to death.
If only there were a blind dog with wheels for back legs for Officer Smaldik to shoot...
Officer Hamm needs to be fired and charged with assault. Never to wear a badge again. His training officers need some remedial work too. What kind of idiot tackles a 92 year old man in a nursing home?
If I were a taxpayer in Salisbury, I would contact my realtor.
Yes, old folks can be combative but they generally do so with the speed of a snail, and the power of a butterfly.
Besides being an ass and absolute idiot, the cop was WAY out of line and should be prosecuted.
Jeez...what is up with these cops? A 92 year old man without a weapon is not a threat to anyone. The cop could have used zip ties if the old coot got too out of hand! Incredible!
“What kind of idiot tackles a 92 year old man in a nursing home?”
If he would do that to a frail old man in a nursing home what would be do to you or anyone else who defied him? He’s not unusual, that’s the kind of police training you have today. Blind obedience and overwhelming force. Perfect for a police state.
The old geezer is just lucky he didn’t get shot like the old pickup driving NASCAR fan did last week in SC when he raised his ‘deadly weapon’ (a walking cane) towards the officer.
The first step is to Eliminate All Claims of Immunity for any Public Servant, Public Official, or Public Employee that “Violates the Civil Rights” of ANY PERSON, Makes any Deliberate false statements, or violates any Law, Statute, Or Regulation.
When they bitch and whine:: DON’T BREAK THE LAW, DON’T LIE should be the Only Response.
I can’t imagine why anyone would possibly hate the pigs.
This is an institutional problem. Training and expectations. Police training is fairly uniform throughout the country because curriculum that has been developed is widely distributed. The outcome of the fairly uniform training is fairly uniform.
Until Police, and courts for that matter start asking a simple question: Does my presence or actions make the situation better or make the situation worse? It is a simple question.
I can find guys to crack head in a bar for $8 an hour. If that’s all the cops are, then we are paying them way more than they are worth
Cops, cities are playing a very dangerous game right now. They are pushing the law and order citizens who pay the bills to the edge of violence against them. The time will come when the mob comes for them. When it does, all the nice shiny cars, well buffed oak furniture will not save them. The mob will drag them from their cars, chambers, and light them on fire in the gutter. The mob will be made up of the criminal element. The difference is that the law abiding citizens will just let them burn. They won’t resist the tyranny of the mob, because it will pose less of a threat than the tyranny of the Cops. That is the tipping point these institutions are toying with. Very dangerous for everybody involved.
Law Enforcement: Change your values, training and expectations while you still can. Before you can’t.
That seems fair.....
That man should lose his job at the VERY least.
Anyone who is in law enforcement who exercises that poor judgment does not belong in a position of that kind of authority or power.
Cops can be trained in dealing with the elderly. With EMS training we learn to give them extra time to answer questions and respond as their thinking processes slow with age. We will kneel in front of them while they are seated to give them the feeling of control. A one day training in dealing with the elderly would help officers reduce their expectations to reality.
So the police were only there as a matter of procedure to begin with, not for any actual danger.
Shari Keller said tackle is an accurate word for what happened. It was pick him up, slam him to the floor, she said. The nurses were so upset they were in tears. Hamm placed a knee in Loys back, pulled Loys arms behind him and handcuffed the minister. With Loy still on the floor, Hamm told Keller and the staff to stay back or leave the room, and he would not allow them to assist Loy, the suit claims.
Absolutely outrageous. Sickening! I hope he gets his badge sued off, the SOB.
Here is a good article to support what I am talking about. This is from CPAC where conservatives have had enough of the WOD: http://www.breitbart.com/InstaBlog/2014/03/07/CPAC-Audience-Legalize-It
When the government abuses it’s citizens everybody loses. Imagine CPAC members having had enough of the government clubbing people over maryJane.
Again, dealing with the elderly, particularly sick, mentally diminished elderly does require tact and a different approach. Common sense says you treat an old guy with a fever and a cane differently than a punk on bath salts eating somebodies face.
But I am telling you Police better change who and what they are, while they still can.
Physical injuries from the tackle and he denies him medical care. Amazing.
I understand that the c in CPAC is for conservatives, but it is attended by large numbers of Libertarians who dominated that meeting. Not really conservatives. Libertarians tend to be conservative on some issues, certainly not on drugs. My concern is how does one control second hand smoke and protect infants and children? You can’t. I do not favor legalizing pot or anything else.
There is a limited education needed to be a cop. High school diploma and some police academy classes. Certainly does not guarantee intelligence. One would hope for quality candidates with common sense to take the job, but —alas— we take our chances.
“Common sense says you treat an old guy with a fever and a cane differently than a punk on bath salts eating somebodies face.”
Well, it’s “comnon sense” element that seems to be missing here. Like, zero tolerance in schools. Like shooting dogs that are barking at you instead of avoiding them. When I was in high school, I saw administrators confiscate small amounts of drugs from students and scare the crap out of them, instead of calling in the po-po and ruining their lives.
If liberals and conservatives can’t find some common ground against the machinery and process of thuggery soon, I agree that there will be a sudden, massive, and very ugly backlash against it. It’s just a matter of time until there is an incident so outrageous that it becomes a tipping point. I believe that someone like Ron Paul in some capacity can help to do this.
Look I think the problem that people have with the WOD is not pot or no pot. I think the problem is government seizures of property without cause or warrant. No knock warrants executed by the fistful. The 4th Amendment, the 5th Amendment ignored and gamed.
That is the problem. Not pot. The question is, is the government by their actions making things better or worst. That is the fundamental question, not second hand contact high questions.
I and many others avoid pot not because it is against the law, but because it is stupid. For the same reason I don’t drink a fifth of vodka every night. Is it against the law to drink a fifth of vodka every night? No. But I don’t do it because I don’t want to destroy my liver. Do some people drink a fifth of vodka every night? Probably. Again the question is, is the government making the situation better or worst? Do people see more destruction of lives and lively hood from the actions of the government or from pot consumption. I think right now the government is causing more disruption and destruction trying to stop a problem than the problem itself could ever create. That is the point.
Some idiot low I.Q. cop beating up an old man at a nursing home is not terribly uncommon. Nor is an instance of cops not providing medical attention and killing an injured driver: http://www.oregonlive.com/gresham/index.ssf/2010/03/clackamas_county_settles_for_1.html
This case in Clackamas County is once again evidence of cops not asking a simple question, am I making the situation better or worst?
This is a matter of Police Institutional standards, expectations and training methods. If cops don’t reform they risk wide spread deadly violence against them by the lawless who will do the violence, and apathy from the law abiding who will let it happen.
The practices and expectations of LEO in this country are disgraceful. The whole rotten mess needs to be re-tooled. It can be done, but it must be done by LEO who run the institutions, develop standards and implement training.
“Absolutely outrageous. Sickening! I hope he gets his badge sued off, the SOB.”
No point...I hope that the city gets its a$$ sued off, the people who live there (and elected the city government) work for this guy and his family for a few years, and the city loses its liability insurance. A few “examples” like this would change things.
Fire the officer!!
About twenty years in general population for the cop is right.
We have seen it before. Remember the L.A. riots? LAPD lost vast parts of the city to rioters. This was more than just Rodney King. This was decades of abuse at the hands of officers. This was back before everybody had a video camera on their phones, but obviously marked a new era of citizens filming cops.
Cops don’t like being filmed and held accountable. The sunlight tends to sanitize the bacteria.
As an EMT, I have been on a call to the nursing home for an unruly, violent elderly male, probably his meds were off complicating the problem. The cop there was very hesitant to use force, as he did not want to physically harm the patient while trying to help. He understood the situation perfectly. We talked the man down and into the ambulance. No violence, no injury. Digoxin poisoning happens to the elderly, not their fault. Lots of other meds can add up in their bodies and do similar things. Sundowning can happen. The list of possibilities is endless. Compassion cannot be taught, though. Sometimes cops become cops for the wrong reasons. I am thankful that in my town there are decent cops. I am lucky.
The Officer assisting you is, was, a credit to his profession. But many officers are roid using knuckleheads. The way they see the job, versus how the rest of us see the job represents a vast gulf of difference.
BTW it is interesting that the same cop who will bust kids for using illegal mary jane is the same cop using illegal roids.
There are far too many of these stories these days. It’s a twofold problem - first is the acts themselves. But secondly, the good will of the people for peace officers is being replaced with fear and loathing at a fantastic rate, and that is deadly for society.
We need good cops! This is NOT optional!
Same here. We would have cops show up to help with dis-orderly old people and for the most part they would allow us to handle it unless it got out of hand. They would speak to the person calmly if they got there first and I have never seen them get out of hand with one.
Old Timer cops knew respect. A lot were brought up in stable homes and many were Korean or Vietnam era vets so it took a lot to get them flustered.
Doesn’t really take a high IQ to have common sense. I just can’t believe they rejected a candidate for being TOO intelligent, though. Crazy world.
Our cops tend to be younger. 30s, I would say. I like most of them, though there is ONE who is a jerk. RME There is always one isn’t there?
Good Lord, what kind of a man tackles a 92 year old with a cane? Oh well at least Hamm went home that night.
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