Just a reminder that despite talk of reform, in much of the country the drug war rages on.
A chaotic exchange involving more than a dozen Richmond police officers and Virginia Union University student Maurice Neblett left him bruised, swollen and shaken last year, according to a $2.3 million civil suit filed last week.
Neblett was falling asleep in bed around 10:30 p.m. on Feb. 14, 2014, when officers in pursuit of marijuana kicked in his door with a warrant listing a non-existent address, the suit states.
The officers placed Neblett in a chokehold, the account continues, and “proceeded to strike the plaintiff with their fists, feet, knees and blunt instruments which included, among interest and belief, the butt of a handgun.”
Richmond police spokesman Gene Lepley declined an interview request, citing department policy against commenting on pending legal matters.
Neblett at the time lived at 531 W. Bacon St., building two, apartment 2120; the warrant was secured for 601 W. Bacon St., building two, apartment 2120, the suit states.
An officer obtained the search warrant after saying he had smelled marijuana in the area. The officer said he spent about a month watching the home, said Jonathan Arthur of the firm Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, who is representing Neblett.
“After a 30-day investigation I would expect that they would get the address correct,” Arthur said.
No marijuana was seized from the home, although police did take a lawfully purchased and legally registered firearm, he said.
After what Neblett described as five to six minutes of pummeling, an officer with a shaved head and scar underneath his eye whispered in Neblett’s ear, ‘Who has the most power, us, or the Bloods?’ the suit states.
He then told Neblett, “We should have done this to your brother but it does not matter because he will be gone for a very long time. You will too,” according to the complaint . . .
After making the request, Neblett said he overheard an officer ask his subordinates who wanted to be an “assaultee.” Neblett was charged with the felony assault of two officers.
Those charges were dismissed within a month of his arrest, but his lease was terminated and he was barred from the apartment complex following the incident.
This of course is half of a lawsuit. So caveat lector. But I’d imagine he has documentation of his injuries, and the lack of contraband certainly suggests the police raided the wrong residence. If what Neblett claims is true, he deserves every penny of the $2.3 million he’s asking. Alas, even in the unlikely event that he wins, the money will come from taxpayers, not the police officers who beat him bloody.