Simmerman Lawsuit

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Family files suit after son’s arrest Halloween night

By Rupert Howell

A suit was filed in federal court Wednesday against the City of Batesville, BPD officer Greg Jones and Sgt. Shawn Dalton by parents of a minor who was apprehended Halloween night after curfew hours and in possession of toilet paper.

Plaintiffs Sally and Stacy Simmerman are seeking a jury trial, that a Halloween curfew be declared unconstitutional and unenforceable, compensatory damages for their minor son and reasonable attorney fees and expenses.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Ron Lewis of Oxford is the attorney for the Simmermans.

Court documents state that the Simmermans’ son, his girlfriend and her mother as well as another group were at Walgreen’s purchasing toilet paper “. . . in preparation for a Halloween prank on one of (the group’s) cousins.”

When two members of the group returned to the cars with toilet paper an officer approached the Simmerman minor asking if he was “deaf” for not responding to the policeman.

The minor was handcuffed and taken into custody according to the document which noted that the juvenile was being apprehended for not coming when the officer summoned him.

Although the parent of his friend would later ask to take the minor home, the policemen refused, the court document states.

The Simmerman minor was then taken to the police station according to the document which claims Dalton did not put  a seat belt around him and then drove erratically to the police department.

The suit also claims that the minor’s cellphone contents were searched while  at the police station before his parents arrived.

The document claims that the curfew was not properly created therefore void and questions why, when there were seven children in the parking lot, only one was  apprehended. The suit cites erroneous procedures when the curfew law was adopted.

The suit also claims physical damage and continued suffering by the minor.

Additonal claims include that the city as well as officer Jones are liable for wrongful arrest and detention, and Dalton is liable for use of “ . . . unnecesary, unjustified excessive force, false imprisonment and unlawful warrantless search of the contents of his cell phone.”

The complaint filed in federal court in Oxford reflects only one side of the incident and attorney Colmon Mitchell who represents the City of Batesville said last week the matter had been turned over to the city’s insurance company who would handle the claim.