Cleveland Police Sued In Federal Court, Again, For Excessive Force, Racist Comments to Suspect


Patrick Carner was arrested by Cleveland police officers in Nov. 2012. Now, the officers, the department heads, and the city have been sued in federal court, accused of yet another Civil RIghts Act violation because of officer conduct during the arrest.

The suit says that Carner was arrested on Nov. 29, 2012, and when he was confronted by the officers who had been looking for him around West 117th St., he "immediately surrendered and lay himself on the ground face-down when he was handcuffed and fully restrained. At all times Plaintiff Carner was compliant and unresisting." He was unarmed, and didn't pose a threat, it says.

After he was handcuffed, a detective and vice squad sergeants Tommy and Terry Shoulders, who are twins, came up to Carner and one of them said, according to the suit, "Why did you make me chase you you little n*****." One of them then "dragged him approximately ten paces and slammed him head first on the trunk of a police cruiser."

Once Carner was in the back seat of the car, the suit says Carner was able to get his cell phone and tried to call his mother to tell her what happened. She didn't pick up, and as one of the Shoulders brothers approached the car, Carner dropped the phone between his legs and the call went to voicemail. The suit says the voicemail left on his mom's phone recorded the following exchanged between Carner and the sergeant:

SHOULDERS: Hey, you dumb n*****, how are you? Here's your fucking running (inaudible) you piece of shit. You fucking animal.

CARNER: Hello?

SHOULDERS: You should die you fucking n*****, you understand me?


SHOULDERS: You're a fucking n*****. You're an animal. (Inaudible) tape recorder, there ain't no fucking tape recorder here."

Shoulders then punched the handcuffed Carner "repeatedly in the face, torso and groin" after he noticed Carner's cell phone, and grabbed the phone, "threw it on the ground, breaking it into pieces, and then threw away the phone so it could not be located or retrieved."

Being sued are then-police chief Michael McGrath, current police chief Calvin WIlliams, vice squad sergeants Thomas and Terry Shoulders, and a detective Landrau. They are being sued for one count of "Fourth and/or Fourteenth Amendment" violations (excessive force), a fourteenth amendment violation (equal protection under the law), failure to train and/or supervise, and for "Monnell Claim for Custom and/or Practice of the City of Cleveland as Moving Force Behind Excessive Force and Racially Based Unequal and a Disparate Treatment," and "Negligent, Reckless and/or Intentional Retention Under Ohio Law."

According to county court records, Carner has been arrested a number of times and is currently an inmate at the Mansfield Correctional Institution.

Read the full suit here:

About The Author

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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