Did sheriff's deputies use excessive force to put inmate in hospital?

(WXYZ) - Fernando Davis says drinking and driving sent him to jail, but it was the Genesee County Sheriff’s deputies that sent him to the emergency room.

“They have to pay for what they’ve done,” says Davis, who is suing the sheriff’s department in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

It all began in 2009, the night of Davis’s birthday, when he and a cousin went out drinking. And after a few hours at the bar, Davis made a decision that he knows was wrong: he got into his car and started driving home.  He didn’t get into an accident, but a state trooper pulled over Davis, who was arrested for operating while intoxicated.

With a blood alcohol level of .19, more than twice the legal limit, Davis was taken to the Genesee County Jail. The below surveillance video tells the story.


“They just took him down and beat him and beat him and beat him and kicked him and sprayed him and kicked him and sprayed him for no reason,” says Daniel Romano, Davis’s attorney.

Sheriffs officials have fought twice to have Davis's lawsuit thrown out of court, but judge's have refused. Deputies insist they acted properly throughout the altercation, but their sworn testimony about what happened that night often conflicts with what's seen on the department's own surveillance video.

Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell ignored repeated phone calls and e-mails explaining his deputies’ conduct. His undersheriff later said they can’t comment on cases in litigation.

Watch the investigation tonight at 6 and 11.

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