Man sues police, says officer kicked him in face

EUCLID, Ohio (AP) — A black man says in a lawsuit that he was kicked in the face, kneed in the groin and seriously hurt by a white suburban Cleveland police officer recently fired for using excessive force on a black man in another case.

Erimius Spencer filed the suit Friday against the city of Euclid, former Euclid police officer Michael Amiott, current officer Shane Rivera and the owners of the apartment complex where he lived.

Amiott was fired in October from Euclid after dashboard camera video showed him repeatedly punching a different black man during a traffic stop.

A message seeking comment was left Monday for Euclid police. No phone listing could be found for Amiott or Rivera.

Spencer's lawsuit said Amiott and Rivera were moonlighting as security guards at his apartment building last December when they confronted him in a hallway, asking him if he had any warrants and whether he was armed.

Amiott reached into Spencer's pocket and found a small amount of marijuana, grabbed him by the arm and shoved him against the wall while ordering him to stop resisting, Spencer said in the lawsuit. Spencer denies he was resisting the officer.

Amiott then kneed him in the groin and shoved him to the floor while Rivera jumped on his back and restrained his arms and legs, according to Spencer's suit.

The lawsuit says Amiott kicked Spencer in the face when he called out for help and that both officers shocked him with stun guns before placing him in handcuffs.

Spencer was treated for a broken bone in his face.

He later was charged in Euclid Municipal Court with theft, resisting arrest, criminal damaging and drug abuse. Euclid eventually hired a special prosecutor, who dropped the first three charges in September. Spencer paid a fine for the drug charge.

In October, Amiott was fired by Euclid after being suspended for punching a black man during an August traffic stop. The city's mayor said she received other complaints about Amiott during the suspension. He was fired from his previous police job in Mentor for lying.

Euclid and its police department face additional lawsuits over allegations of excessive force.

Last week, 36-year-old Lamar Wright sued the city and two officers in federal court saying officers shocked him with a stun gun and doused his face with pepper spray and accused him of resisting arrest after he had pulled into a driveway to use his cellphone last year. Prosecutors dropped the charges against Wright, a black man.

The family of 23-year-old Luke Stewart, an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by Euclid police officer Matthew Rhodes in March, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Rhodes and the city in October.

Reports said Rhodes encountered Stewart, who was asleep at the wheel of his car, and then tried to push him out when Stewart started the vehicle and began to drive away. The officer said he struggled with Stewart and then shot him because he feared the car would crash.