Cincinnati, Ohio – A Cincinnati Police Officer has filed a lawsuit against the suspect who brutalized him in June, 2019.
It’s a rather pleasing development in the case involving Officer Doug Utecht, who is under investigation by Cincinnati’s Citizen Complaint Authority for a claim of using excessive force in the arrest of his attacker, Durrell Nichols.
Imagine being a police officer who gets brutally assaulted by a suspect, to the point of being bloodied and having an eye swollen shut, and then getting a complaint filed against you for “excessive force” – despite the suspect not having a scratch on them.
Officer Utecht responded to a call at a local YMCA, where Nichols had apparently been asked to leave by the YMCA management.
Nichols, a 25-year-old 300-pound man, was reportedly behaving in a disorderly manner while playing basketball at the YMCA back in June of last year.
Officers present tried several times to get Nichols to leave the facility willingly, to which Nichols allegedly refused. When police were forced to place Nichols under arrest, he began resisting and started to assault Officer Utecht.
Fraternal Order of Police President Dan Hills stated the following about the attack on the officer: “He totally brutalized him.”
— Jim McNeff (@JimMcNeff) February 21, 2020
Pictures of the aftermath of the attack showed the officer with lacerations to the face, one eye swollen shut, and facial bruising.
It was later determined he’d also suffered fractures to various facial bones in the assault.
Now, Officer Utecht is suing both the suspect and the suspect’s mother, Lakisha McMillan, for damages in excess of more than $25,000, legal costs, attorneys’ fees, and “such other relief” the court deems.
Utecht’s lawyer, Zach Gottesman, stated the following regarding the lawsuit:
“This officer was grievously injured in the line of duty and he’s got legitimate claims against the people who are responsible.”
The reason behind including McMillan in the suit is that she acts as Nichols’ primary caretaker.
Nichols’ has been described as someone who needs to regularly take anti-psychotic medication to prevent his psychotic episodes.
The suit alleges that McMillan failed to monitor her son’s mental health status or to ensure he regularly took his medications, knowing that without his regimen he posed a risk to the public.
McMillan is also being targeted in the lawsuit for making what was described as “a series of false and defamatory statements” against Officer Utecht.
The mother was the one behind reporting the allegations of excessive forced being used against Nichols during his arrest.
Officer Utecht and several other officers responded to the facility after employees called to report that a man was acting disorderly and refusing to leave. AND THIS OFFICER IS THE PROBLEM??? pic.twitter.com/vhnNUhI6k3
— DJ Gable (@GableDj) February 14, 2020
The mother’s complaint against the officer claimed that arriving officers did not try to deescalate the situation regarding Nichols being asked to leave the YMCA location.
She further claimed that Officer Utecht punched Nichols from behind and tried to choke him, sparking Nichols to fight back.
Utecht’s attorney noted the absurdity of McMillan’s complaint:
“The complaint is obviously false and the officers’ body camera footage makes clear that what the complainant said occurred is complete fiction.”
The attorney pointed out that the video evidence, when released, will debunk these excessive force claims:
“The officer did everything he could to de-escalate the situation and he was brutally attacked.
The YMCA video will be available at some point and it will show the brutality of the attack. It is horrifying. The brutality of the attack is horrifying:
A 300-pound man beating an unconscious police officer in the face.”
The lawsuit details that the assaulted officer will have “permanent scarring and disfigurement from the injuries” sustained that day in June.
There are no details yet on what the next steps are, as this suit was just filed this past Tuesday in the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.
What is noted is that the suit demands that a civil trial be held and determined by a jury.