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Excessive Force Claim Against Virginia Jail Settled

DaVon Bell has settled a federal lawsuit in which he claimed that he was subjected to excessive force by guards at Virginia’s Roanoke City Jail. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Bell, who was 20 years old when he was taken to the jail for booking on grand larceny charges (later reduced to petit larceny), became embroiled in an argument with guards over the number of telephone calls he was allowed following his September 2008 arrest. His lawsuit claimed that he was subdued, handcuffed, placed on his face on the floor and beaten by guards.

Later, guards told him to put his hands behind his head, but injuries to his left arm from the beating prevented him from complying with that order. In response, jail guards Brandon Young and Robert Baker allegedly forced Bell’s arm up, breaking his left elbow.

In addition to the excessive use of force claims, Bell also alleged a pattern of excessive force at the jail that Sheriff Octavia Johnson was aware of but did nothing to prevent. The lawsuit was dismissed on October 6, 2011 due to the parties reaching a settlement.

“It takes courage to bring an excessive use of force case against deputies of the Roanoke City Jail,” said Bell’s attorney, John P. Fishwick, Jr. “DaVon Bell anticipated this case would be tried but is pleased the matter has been resolved.” See: Bell v. Johnson, U.S.D.C. (W.D. Va.), Case No. 7:09-cv-00214-GEC.


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Related legal case

Bell v. Johnson