Man sues police departments, cities for excessive force, assault

HUNTINGTON -- A Huntington man is suing the West Virginia Department of Public Safety/State Police and the cities of Huntington and Barboursville, along with their police departments, after he claims he was assaulted by officers who used excessive force against him.

Detectives S. Hischman and S. Bills, the County Commission for Cabell County and an unknown and unnamed individual were also named as defendants in the suit.

On May 14, 2010, Ashley Dale Ellis was resting in bed at his residence when a task force of law enforcement officers arrived to execute a search warrant, according to a complaint filed May 11 in Cabell Circuit Court.

Ellis claims he was awakened by the law enforcement officers, who were dressed in SWAT gear, and was immediately detained pursuant to the search warrant.

Despite the fact that Ellis was detained, outnumbered, unarmed, was not resisting arrest, was not attempting to flee, posed no risk to the law enforcement officers and was actually sleeping and without any prior warning or justification, the law enforcement officers began to strike him with their fists, feet and batons, according to the suit.

Ellis claims the defendants continued to strike him violently in his face, abdomen, genitals and other extremely sensitive and vulnerable parts of his body.

The defendants' actions caused Ellis to sustain injuries, humiliation, pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, severe and permanent emotional distress and incurred medical expenses, according to the suit.

Ellis claims the defendants also violated his constitutional rights.

The police departments and Cabell County Commission are liable for the acts of their officers and acts they committed in the course of their employments, according to the suit.

Ellis is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by E. Lavoyd Morgan Jr. and Steve A. Baker.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge David M. Pancake.

Cabell Circuit Court case number: 12-C-310

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