GRAPHIC CONTENT WARNING: Man sues Phenix City police officers over alleged excessive force

Local News
Man sues Phenix City Police for alleged excessive force

A man is suing the Phenix City Police Department on allegations of excessive force following his arrest on March 30, 2018 for a variety of charges, including DUI, criminal mischief, and attempting to elude.

Russell County resident Michael Elias Ruda claims that due to the actions of the three police officers who detained him, he suffered “wrongful seizure, unlawful arrest, illegal assault, use of excessive force, and resulting personal injuries.”

Ruda has filed a civil suit.

Responding to the suit, “The March 2018 use of force complaint cleared the officers of wrongdoing,” said Phenix City Chief of Police Ray Smith. Police “cannot speak on pending litigation,” now that the case is back in court.

The events that led to Ruda’s lawsuit against Phenix City Police officers Tobias Boisvert, Michael Bettencourt, and Joshua Geiger started just after midnight while Officer Boisvert was patrolling alone, says Ruda’s lawyer, Griffin Sikes.

According to court documents, Boisvert “received a radio call from his dispatcher requesting that Boisvert be on the look-out for a possible DUI suspect driving a white pickup truck.”

Shown in dashcam footage, Boisvert approached two white pickup trucks driving in front of him on Highway 280, and both stopped at a red light.

Ruda was driving the “hindmost of the two” trucks, the identity of the driver of the first is still uknown.

“Boisvert activated his police vehicle’s siren and blue light,” as he approached the two vehicles. When the light changed, the first driver reportedly drove onto a service rode and left the scene, while Ruda pulled into the parking lot of the Glory Days bar, complying with the officer’s signal to pull over.

“Before Mr. Ruda could exit his vehicle, defendant Boisvert exited his police cruiser, drew his pistol, and while threateningly pointing his pistol at Mr. Ruda, aggressively shouted at Mr. Ruda to get out of his vehicle and show his hands,” court documents state in a section titled “Allegations Common to All Claims.”

Ruda “complied” and left his vehicle, with his hands above his head. After he left the vehicle, two more policement arrived, defendants Bettencourt and Geiger.

The three officers then reportedly “immediately and without cause violently assaulted Mr. Ruda,” leading to multiple injuries including a broken arm, several “bloody abrasions, lacerations and bruises to his face, head, chest, abdomen, back, arms and legs,” says the court document. Officers also “assaulted him with a Taser.”

According to Ruda and his attorney, at no point did Ruda attempt to strike the three officers, “he offered no resistance and he took no actions, other than defensively attempting to avoid, ward off, or minimize his injuries” during the alleged unlawful assault by police.

In a non-jury trial for the charges of DUI, attempt to elude, criminal mischief, Ruda was acquitted, but convicted for resisting arrest.

Now, he seeks relief for the injuries he allegedly received at the hands of the three officers and is suing them in civil court after the defendants were not found to have violated any laws while detaining him.

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