SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – A lawsuit was filed on Monday against the Summerville Police Department after a 20-year-old man was held at gunpoint during a traffic stop.
On the evening of March 21, Noah West was pulled over for driving without headlights. Authorities said that a shots fired call was reported in the area shortly before West was pulled over, and the last time a shooting happened in the area, the car fled with its headlights off.
Officers yelled at West to get out of the car and walk backwards with his hands on his head, then get on his knees. West complied, and was approached by an officer with his gun drawn.
West was handcuffed and temporarily detained before ultimately being let go.
The lawsuit claims that Summerville PD “did not intend to conduct a lawful traffic stop, or one that was in bounds of state and local law,” and that the officers used “objectively unreasonable…force” against West.
Summerville PD as an organization is accused of “hiring and retaining unqualified officers…, failing to adequately train, supervise, and control its officers…, [and] failing to adequately investigate and discipline officers who have engaged in previous instances of excessive force against citizens.”
Further, the lawsuit alleges that West was deprived of the following rights afforded to him by the SC State Constitution:
- The right to be free from unreasonable and illegal searches and searches and
- The right to be free from excessive and unreasonable force;
- The right to be free form unlawful force;
- The right to be free of unlawful, reckless, wanton, and conscience shocking deadly and/or excessive force;
- The right to be free from deprivation of liberty and injury without substantive due process and state created/enhanced danger;
- And in such other particulars as may be learned through discovery.
The suit also seeks damages for West’s mother, who witnessed the whole incident, which caused her “severe emotional distress.”
Marvin Pendarvis, who is representing the family, said that “what happened to Mr. West was excessive and the result of the kind of profiling that needs to be eradicated in policing.” He continued, saying “a routing traffic stop for an alleged infraction should not end with guns drawn… It was negligible at best and malicious at worst.”