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Elderly Couple Awarded $345,000 for Excessive Force During Arrest

A jury in Missouri’s Jackson County Circuit Court has awarded an elderly couple $345,000 on a claim that Kansas City police used excessive force to arrest them. The jury only took three hours to render its May 9, 2008 verdict.

While responding to a disturbance call at a house near the home of Louise Jones, 70, and Fred Jones, 79, Louise “accidentally” hit the horn of her car as she was following the slowly moving police car in front of her. Officers Ryan Van Deusen and Cory LeMoine stopped the Joneses.

LeMoine told Louise that he could cite her for honking her horn on a public street. A neighbor overheard Louise tell the two officers that they should “not be out in a white neighborhood giving a senior citizen trouble about accidentally honking a horn.” While the Joneses went home, the officers responded to their call.

Upon completing their duties, the officers returned to the Joneses’ home. They demanded to see Louise’s driver’s license. LeMoine then told her she was under arrest and he reached to handcuff her. When she backed away and asked why she was under arrest, Van Deusen fired his taser gun, but the prongs did not stick.

Louise was then forced to the floor, injuring her right leg. Being awoken by the commotion, Fred came down to check on his wife. As he tried to help her, Van Deusen slammed him to the floor, injuring his leg. Both were arrested. While the horn charge was dropped, Louise was convicted of resisting arrest and attempting to injure LeMoine. Fred was convicted of interfering with his wife’s arrest.

Nonetheless, the civil jury awarded $100,000 to Louise for her injury, $5,000 to Fred for his, and $240,000 to them in punitive damages. They were represented by Kansas City attorney Basil C. North, Jr. See: Jones v. Van DeusenI, Jackson Co. Cir. Ct., No. 0616-CV-6131.

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Related legal case

Jones v. Van Deusen

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