Cleveland Police Officer, City Sued For Injuries Following Argument About Lebron James, White NBA Players


A Cleveland man is suing the city and a Cleveland police officer for injuries after he was tossed out of a McDonald's by the cop who apparently was not pleased with his discussion about LeBron James and the lack of white basketball players in the NBA.

Charles Smith, the man bringing the suit, is Native American with "light complexion," according to the complaint. The police officer, Carl Perkins, is black. Perkins allegedly assumed Smith was white and "took offense to comments plaintiff made about paucity of white basketball players in the NBA" ("paucity" means "a small amount of something : an amount that is less than what is needed or wanted" per Merriam-Webster).

Here are the relevant portions from the complaint (in full, below):

7. Plaintiff Charles Timothy Smith states that on or about November 3, 2012 he was in conversation with other persons at the McDonald's restaurant near E. 55th St. and Broadway in Cleveland, Ohio. The conversations were about the contributions of Lebron James and the game of basketball.

8. Plaintiff states that on that date and place the defendant Perkins was also in the restaurant and took offense to comments plaintiff made about the paucity of white basketball players in the NBA and, mistaking plaintiff's light complexion as being "white", loudly proclaimed to everyone in hearing distance that he, the defendant, was tired of plaintiff's comments about blacks and commanded plaintiff to leave.

9. Defendant Perkins then forcibly grabbed plaintiff, pushed plaintiff towards the door and physically expelled plaintiff out of the restaurant, injuring plaintiff physically and mentally in the process.

10. Plaintiff, in a dazed and injured state, stumbled towards his home on E. 55th Street and called for an ambulance where he was immediately taken to the Cleveland Clinic for treatment.

11. As a result of the above described conduct, plaintiff has been physically injured, humiliated, embarrassed, inconvenienced and suffered great emotional distress.

The suit was first filed in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas in November, but was recently moved to the federal court in Cleveland.

Read the complaint here:

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Doug Brown

Doug Brown is a staff writer at Scene with a passion for public records laws and investigative reporting. A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., he has an M.A. in journalism from the Kent State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a B.A. in political science from Hiram College. Prior to joining Scene,...
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