Huntington settles lawsuit involving officer using leg-sweep maneuver

By Kyla Asbury | Jan 2, 2019

HUNTINGTON —Huntington settled a lawsuit with a man who claimed he was assaulted by an officer who used a leg-sweep maneuver that caused him injuries.

The final order of dismissal was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia and ordered the case to be dismissed with prejudice, according to several court documents obtained by The West Virginia Record.

An agreement was made between Christopher James Hafner and Huntington on behalf of the Huntington Police Department, according to the final dismissal order. Federal Judge Robert C. Chambers issued the order on Dec. 21.

The lawsuit involves an officer who used a leg-sweep maneuver in 2015 to apprehend Hafner and caused him to be rendered unconscious. 

Dakota Dishman, the officer involved, was dismissed from the lawsuit on Dec. 17, according to one of the court documents.

Dishman was voluntarily dismissed with prejudice, according to the document.

On Nov. 4, 2015, Dishman responded to a disturbance in the alleyway behind WSAZ in Huntington and encountered Hafner there.

Haffner was drinking an alcoholic beverage in the alleyway when Dishman approached him and placed his arms behind his back, causing Hafner to drop his drink, according to the suit.

Dishman then used a leg-sweep maneuver that caused Hafner to hit his head on the brick road, which rendered him unconscious.

Hafner claimed Dishman then drove his knee into his back and placed his full body weight onto Hafner, who was still unconscious.

Dishman did not call for emergency medical services, according to the suit.

Hafner was charged with public intoxication, disorderly conduct and obstruction. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. The obstruction and public intoxication charges were dismissed.

Hafner claimed the officer used excessive force and was negligent. He claimed the city was negligent in hiring, retaining and supervising the officer.

Steven K. Nord represented the city.

Connor Robertson and Richard Weston of Weston Robertson Law represented Hafner.

Attorneys for either side did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia Case number: 3:17-cv-04265

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