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Case 3:18-cv-00060-DPM Document 1 Filed 04/05/18 Page 1 of 11

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FILED
U.S. DISTRICT COUFfT
EASTERN DISTRICT ARKANSAS

APR 05 2018
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT co~~ES w. Mee
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS, ·--7'f'+'"'--i~ml~
JONESBORO DIVISION

ADAM FINLEY PLAINTIFF

vs. NO. _3:


_ j~-CV-001)/,()
__ j)fJ/VI

CITY OF WALNUT RIDGE, ARKANSAS, MAYOR


CHARLES SNAPP, INDIVIDUALLY, AND IN HIS
OFFICIAL CAPACITY,
OFFICER MATTHEW MERCADO, ~r·.
INDIVIDUALLY, AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPAClJY?:
OFFICER MATT COOK, l "'' LHi<•.
~ :0~1 to Dis!:-ict Judoe
- -----
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INDIVIDUALLY, AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY


CHIEF CHRIS KIRKSEY,
INDIVIDUALLY, AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY DEFENDANTS

COMPLAINT AT LAW

Comes now the Plaintiff, Adam Finley, by and through his attorney, Mark Rees, Rees

Law Firm, and for his Complaint against the named Defendants, state and allege:

1. This is an action for damages sustained by a citizen of the United States against

police officers of the Walnut Ridge Police Department who unlawfully arrested, assaulted

and harassed Plaintiff, against the Chief of Police as a supervisory officer responsible for the

conduct of the "City" Defendants, and for the failure of each of them to take corrective action

with respect to police personnel, as well as their failure to investigate complaints of police

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brutality and misconduct and/or impose discipline, and to ensure proper training and

supervision of personnel, and/or to implement meaningful procedures to discourage lawless

official conduct, and against the City of Walnut Ridge, which is the employer of the "City

Officers", all of which are sued as persons under 42 U.S.C. §1983.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

2. That this action arises under title 42 U.S.C. §1983 & 1988, 28 U.S.C. §2201,

2202, and F.R.C.P. 57, for violation of the 4th, 5th, 8th, and 14th Amendments to the United

States Constitution. There are also pendent state law claims.

3. Subject matter jurisdiction of this action seeking both equitable and money

damages is by reason of title 28U.S.C.§1331and1343. Venue is in the Eastern District of

Arkansas by reason of title 28U.S.C.§1391, as all acts or omissions complained of occurred

in the Eastern District of Arkansas.

PARTIES

4. That Plaintiff, Adam Finley is an adult residing in Smithville, Lawrence

County, Arkansas, and at all times relevant to the allegations contained in this Complaint,

was a resident of Lawrence County, Arkansas, and is a citizen of the United States.

5. At all times relevant hereto, Defendant, Chief Chris Kirksey, was the duly

appointed and acting Chief of Police of the City of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. As such, he

was the commanding officer of Defendants, Sgt. Matt Cook and Officer Matthew Mercado,

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and was responsible for their training, supervision and conduct. He was also responsible for

enforcing the regulations of the Walnut Ridge Police Department for investigating

complaints and ensuring that Walnut Ridge Police personnel obeyed the laws of the State of

Arkansas and the United States at all relevant times in his official capacity as the agent,

servant, and employee of Defendant, City of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. He is sued

individually and in his official capacity.

6. At all times relevant hereto, Defendant, Sgt. Matt Cook, was a police officer

employed by the City of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, to perform duties in the town of Walnut

Ridge, Arkansas, at all relevant times in his official capacity as the agent, servant, and

employee of Defendant, City of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. He is sued individually and in his

official capacity.

7. At all times relevant hereto, Defendant, Officer Matthew Mercado, was a

police officer employed by the City of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, to perform duties in the

town of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, at all relevant times in his official capacity as the agent,

servant, and employee of Defendant, City of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas. He is sued

individually and in his official capacity.

8. That Defendant, Charles Snapp, is an adult residing in Walnut Ridge, Lawrence

County, Arkansas and all times relevant hereto, was the Mayor of the City of Walnut Ridge,

Arkansas, and therefore the responsible person of the employer of Defendant officers, and

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in his official capacity, authorized, ratified and approved of wrongful acts of the other

individual Defendants inasmuch as he was the individual who by operation of law was in

charge of the City of Walnut Ridge as well as all entities including the police department

therein, yet chose to continue the employment of the Defendant police officers when he

knew, or should have known in the exercise of ordinary and due care, of the police officers

callous disregard and deliberate indifference to the rights of the citizens of Walnut Ridge,

Lawrence County, Arkansas and also to the rights of the citizens traveling through Walnut

Ridge, Lawrence County, Arkansas, and to the safety of the Plaintiff's herein.

9. That Defendant, City of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, is a municipal corporation

(here and after referred to as "City") within the State of Arkansas, at all times relevant hereto,

operated under a defacto policy or custom amounting to deliberate indifference to the

constitutional rights of the citizens of Walnut Ridge, Lawrence County, Arkansas, and the

citizens traveling through Walnut Ridge, Lawrence County, Arkansas, by failing to supervise

police personnel and investigate complaints of officers abuse.

10. Plaintiffs reserve the right to amend this Complaint to add additional

Defendants as they may be revealed during discovery.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

11. On or about December 28, 2016, Plaintiff was stopped at the intersection of

Highway 63 and Highway 91 in the City of Walnut Ridge, Lawrence County, Arkansas. At

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the time this occurred, Plaintiff had violated no laws nor committed any traffic offense for

which to be stopped or detained.

12. That Plaintiff, who works for Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, was in

his work truck with his work clothes on, as well as all his equipment and his ID badge.

Defendant Mercado asked Plaintiff why he was working on the railroad crossing, and

Plaintfiff stated because I work for the railroad. Plaintiff showed his railroad ID badge, and

Defendant still did not let the Plaintff leave. Instead, Defendant Mercado asked the Plaintiff

why he had an attitude, and the Plaintiff responded that he did not have an attitude.

13. After Defendant Mercado's confrontation with the Plaintiff, he still did not

allow the Defendant to leave.

14. Even though Plaintiff had committed no violation of the law, and that

Defendant Mercado knew that Plaintiff worked for the railroad, Defendant Mercado

requested that Plaintiff get out of his work truck.

15. Once Plaintiff was out of the car, Defendant Mercado verbally assaulted the

Plaintiff by cursing the Plaintiff.

16. Once Plaintiff was out of the car, Defendant Mercado physically assaulted

the Plaintiff by pushing him into the door, putting handcuffs on him, and continuing to

verbally assault him.

17. Even though Defendant had assaulted the Plaintiff, roughed him up, and

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handcuffed the Plaintiff, the Plaintiff had not committed any violation of the law.

18. That Defendant Mercado placed the handcuffed Plaintiff on his car and

continued to verbally assault him.

19. Eventually, Defendant Mercado unhandcuffed the Plaintiff and released him

without any citation. As the parties were about to leave, Defendant Mercado told the

Plaintiff the next time "you will ride the lightning," referring to be tazed.

20. That immediately after this encounter with Defendant Mercado, Plaintiff

went to the Walnut Ridge Police Department to fill out a complaint form on Defendant

Mercado.

21. That the Plaintiff was not well received at the Walnut Ridge Police

Department.

22. When the Plaintiff tried to file the complaint, he was interrogated by

Defendant Chief Kirksey and Defendant Matt Cook.

23. Eventually, Defendant Matt Cook, with Defendant Chief Kirksey permission,

wrote citations to the Plaintiff for refusal to submit and obstructing governmental operations.

24. That in an attempt to cover their actions, Defendants Mercado, Kirksey, and

Cook charged Plaintiff with two misdemeanor offenses, forced him to retain private counsel,

and to undergo trial in the District Court of Lawrence County, Arkansas.

25. That on April 3, 2017, the District Court of Lawrence County, Arkansas,

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acquitted Plaintiff of all charges against him.

26. That as a direct and proximate result of the misconduct described above,

Plaintiff, Adam Finley has suffered pain, suffering and mental anguish and will in the future

experience pain, suffering and mental anguish from the consequences of his injuries; for all

of which he should have and recover judgment against each of the Defendants.

27. On information and belief, the abuse to which Plaintiff was subjected was

consistent with an institutionalized practice of the Walnut Ridge Police Department, which

was known and ratified by Defendants, City of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, and Mayor Charles

Snapp, said Defendants having at no time having taken any action to prevent the police

personnel under their supervision and in their employment from continuing to engage in such

misconduct, nor to properly investigate complaints of brutality and misconduct.

28. On information and belief, Defendant, Walnut Ridge Police Chief Chris

Kirksey, had prior notice of the vicious propensities of Defendant Mercado and/or other

officers or employees of his police department but took no steps to train them, correct their

abuse of authority, or to discourage their unlawful use of authority. The failure to properly

train Defendant Mercado and other officers included the failure to instruct them in applicable

provisions of law and the proper and prudent use of force.

29. On information and belief, Defendants, City of Walnut Ridge, and Mayor

Charles Snapp, authorized and /or tolerated as institutional practices and ratified the

misconduct set forth above by;

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a. Failing to properly discipline, restrict, and control employees, including


Defendants, Officers Mercado and Cook, and Chief Chris Kirksey,
known to be irresponsible in their dealings with citizens of the
community;

b. Failing to take adequate precautions in the hiring, promotion, and


retention of police personnel, including specifically Defendants,
Mercado and Cook;

c. Failing to forward to the office of the prosecuting attorney of Lawrence


County, evidence of criminal acts committed by police personnel; and

d. Failing to establish and/or assure the function of a bona fide and


meaningful departmental system for dealing with complaints of police
misconduct, but instead responding to such complaints with such
bureaucratic power and official denials calculated to mislead the public.
This conduct also constitutes gross negligence under the law, as well as
the establishment of a defacto policy and/or custom amounting to
deliberate indifference to the constitutional rights of citizens.

30. As a consequence of the abuse of authority described above, Plaintiff sustained

the damages alleged above.

FEDERAL CAUSE OF ACTION

31. The allegations set forth above are incorporated herein by reference.

32. The above described actions and omissions engaged in under color of state

authority by Defendants including the "City" Defendants, each sued as a person responsible

because of its authorization, condonation, and ratification thereof for the acts of its agents,

deprived Plaintiff of rights secure to him by the constitution of the United States, including

but not limited to their Fourth Amendment rights, their Fifth Amendment, and Fourteenth

Amendment rights of due process of law, including the right to be free from cruel and

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unreasonable punishment, as well as their Eight Amendment Rights.

PENDENT JURISDICTION PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. 1367

STATE CAUSE OF ACTION

33. The allegations set forth above are repeated and re-alleged.

34. That Defendants, and each of them, acted under color of state law, statues,

ordinances, regulations, policies, customs, and usages of the State of Arkansas and the City

of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, and intentionally, deliberately, or with deliberate indifference

violated the Plaintiff's rights under the Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993 and Article 2, § 15

of the Constitution of the State of Arkansas by using unlawful, illegal, and excessive force

in detaining and/or arresting the Plaintiff.

ASSAULT AND BATTERY

35. That Defendant, Officer Mercado, committed unlawful assaults and batteries

upon the Plaintiff by cursing and threatening Plaintiff as well as by shoving the Plaintiff

repeatedly as well as the intentional infliction of emotional distress (outrage), negligence,

gross negligence, false arrest and imprisonment, abuse of process, conspiracy tort, prima

facie tort as well as other torts under the laws of the State of Arkansas. This Court has

pendent jurisdiction to hearing and adjudicate these claims.

36. Plaintiff is entitled to recover compensatory damages under the state law for

the tortuous and wrongful conduct of all the Defendants as set forth above.

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PUNITIVE DAMAGES

37. The actions of each of the Defendants herein named were undertaken purposely

and in conscious disregard for the rights and safety of the Plaintiff; were outrageous and

utterly intolerable in a civilized society. The Defendants, and each of them, knew or should

have known that their actions or omissions would result in injury and damages to the

Plaintiff, yet continued with conscious disregard for the consequences of the same. As a

result, Plaintiff is entitled to an award of punitive damages against each Defendant.

JURY TRIAL DEMAND

38. Plaintiff demands a trial by jury herein.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff, Adam Finley, prays for the following relief jointly against

each and all of the Defendants and seek the following relief:

a). Compensatory damages in an amount in excess of the minimum amount required

to obtain diversity of citizenship jurisdiction in the United State District Court;

b ). Punitive damages in such an amount as to trier of fact may determine to be

appropriate based upon the proof;

c). Declaratory judgement;

d). Injunctive relief;

e). Attorney's fees;

f). Cost of this action; and

g). Any and all other relief to which he may be entitled.

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Respectfully submitted,

Adam Finley, Plaintiff

REES LAW FIRM


Attorneys at Law
2110 East Matthews
Jonesboro, AR 72401
(870) 931-2100

By:

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JS 44 (Rev. 06/17) CIVIL COVER SHEET
The JS 44 civil cover sheet and the information contained herein neither replace nor supplement the fit ing and service of pleadings or other papers as required by law, except as
provided by local rules of court. This form, approved by the Judicial Conference of the United States in September 1974, is required for the use of the Clerk of Court for the
purpose of initiating the civil docket sheet. (Sfili INSTRUC110NS ON NHXTPAGH OF 'lHIS FORM.)

I. (a) PLAINTIFFS
C~yEJf'Wa?n~m!§ge, AR, Mayor Charles Snapp, lndiv., in his Official
Adam Finley Capacity, Officer Matthew Mercado, lndiv., in his Official Cap., Officer
Matt Cook, lndiv., in his Official Cap, Cheif Chris Kirksey, lndiv., in his
(b) County of Residence of First Listed Plaintiff _L_a_w_r_e_n_c_e_ _ _ _ _ __ County of Residence of First Listed Defendant _L_a_w_r_e_n_c_e_ _ _ _ _ _ __
(hXC/iI'r IN U.S. PIAIN'lJFF CASHS) (IN U.S. PIAINlJFF CASliS ONI.Y)
NOTE: IN LAND CONDEMNATION CASES, USE THE LOCATION OF
THE TRACT OF LAND INVOLVED.

( C) Attorne_ys (Firm Name, Address, and Telephone Number) Attorneys (If Known)
Mark Rees, Rees Law Firm, 2110 East Matthews, Jonesboro, AR 72401
(870) 931-2100

II. BASIS OF JURISDICTION (Place an "X" in One HoxOnly) III. CITIZENSHIP OF PRINCIPAL PARTIES (Place an "X" inOneHoxforl'lai/1/ifl
(For Diversily Cases Only) and One Hoxfiir /Jefenda111)
0 I U.S. Government '.Ii(' 3 Federal Question PTF DEF PTF DEF
Plaintiff (I !.S. Governmenl Nor a Par1y) Citizen of This State ~ I W I Incorporated or Principal Place 0 4 0 4
of Business In This State

0 2 U.S. Government 0 4 Diversity Citizen of Another State 0 2 0 2 Incorporated and Principal Place 0 5 0 5
Defendant (Indicale Cilizemhip of l'ar/ies i11 I1em III) of Business In Another State

Citizen or Subject of a 0 3 0 Foreign Nation 0 6 0 6


Forei 111 Count
IV NATURE OF SUIT (Pace an "X" in One Hox On y) ClIC k here for: N·ature o fS, Utt C oce
l Descnot1ons.
I : <·()N'l'~(J;J' . ... " .:. · ... T<>RTS' . FQRFEITURE/PENA'LTY .· BANKRUPTCY •OTHl1.R"8TATI!TES I
0 I I0Insurance PERSONAL INJURY PERSONAL INJURY 0 625 Drug Related Seizure 0 422 Appeal 28 USC 158 0 375 False Claims Act
0 120 Marine 0 310 Airplane 0 365 Personal Injury - of Property 21 USC 881 0 423 Withdrawal 0 376 Qui Tarn (31 USC
0 130 Miller Act 0 315 Airplane Product Product Liability 0 690 Other 28 USC 157 3729(a))
0 140 Negotiable Instrument Liability 0 36 7 Health Care/ 0 400 State Reapportionment
0 150 Recovery of Overpayment 0 320 Assault, Libel & Phannaceutical PROPERTY RTGtt:1:i. 0 410 Antitrust
& Enforcement of Judgment Slander Personal Injury 0 820 Copyrights 0 430 Banks and Banking
0 151 Medicare Act 0 330 Federal Employers" Product Liability 0 830 Patent 0 450 Commerce
0 152 Recovery of Defaulted Liability 0 368 Asbestos Personal 0 835 Patent - Abbreviated 0 460 Deportation
Student Loans 0 340 Marine Injury Product New Drug Application 0 470 Racketeer Influenced and
(Excludes Veterans) 0 345 Marine Product Liability 0 840 Trademark Corrupt Organizations
0 153 Recovery of Overpayment Liability PERSONAL PROPERTY ·/ "•:,::uw• R':' :. ,.:·.~· u. , . . . SE 'I· Rl:J\Y. 0 480 Consumer Credit
of Veteran's Benefits 0 350 Motor Vehicle 0 370 Other Fraud 0 710 Fair Labor Standards 0 861 HIA (I 395ft) 0 490 Cable/Sat TV
0 160 Stockholders' Suits 0 355 Motor Vehicle 0 3 71 Truth in Lending Act 0 862 Black Lung (923) 0 850 Securities/Commodities/
0 190 Other Contract Product Liability 0 380 Other Personal 0 720 Labor/Management 0 863 DIWC/DIWW (405(g)) Exchange
0 195 Contract Product Liability 0 360 Other Personal Property Damage Relations 0 864 SSID Title XVI 0 890 Other Statutory Actions
0 196 Franchise lnju1y 0 385 Property Damage 0 740 Railway Labor Act 0 865 RSI (405(g)) 0 891 Agricultural Acts
0 362 Personal Injury - Product Liability 0 751 Family and Medical 0 893 Environmental Matters
Medical Malpractice Leave Act 0 895 Freedom of lnfonnation
I 'RuL PROPERTY •"CIV:llicRIG'.HTS / "..PRJSQNER PETITWNS· 0 790 Other Labor Litigation FEDERALTA.X:SUITS. .. Act
0 210 Land Condemnation ~ 440 Other Civil Rights Habeas Corpus: 0 791 Employee Retirement 0 870 Taxes (U.S. Plaintiff 0 896 Arbitration
0 220 Foreclosure 0 441 Voting 0 463 Alien Detainee Income Security Act or Defendant) 0 899 Administrative Procedure
0 230 Rent Lease & Ejectment 0 442 Employment 0 510 Motions to Vacate 0 871 IRS-Third Party Act/Review or Appeal of
0 240 Torts to Land 0 443 Housing/ Sentence 26 use 7609 Agency Decision
0 245 Tort Product Liability Accommodations 0 530 General 0 950 Constitutionality of
0 290 All Other Real Property 0 445 Amer. w/Disabilities - 0 535 Death Penalty IMMJGRA TION State Statutes
Employment Other: 0 462 Naturalization Application
0 446 Amer. w/Disabilities - 0 540 Mandamus & Other 0 465 Other Immigration
Other 0 550 Civil Rights Actions
0 448 Education 0 555 Prison Condition
0 560 Civil Detainee -
Conditions of
Confinement

V. ORIGIN (Placean "X"inOneHoxOn/y)


J3: I Original 0 2 Removed from 0 3 Remanded from 0 4 Reinstated or 0 5 Transferred from 0 6 Multidistrict 0 8 Multidistrict
Proceeding State Court Appellate Court Reopened Another District Litigation - Litigation-
(.1pec!/j;) Transfer Direct File

VII. REQUESTED IN 0 CHECK IF THIS IS A CLASS ACTION CHECK YES only if demanded in complaint:
COMPLAINT: UNDER RULE 23, F.R.Cv.P. JURY DEMAND: )Ii{ Yes ONo

VIII. RELATED CASE(S)


(...\'ee ins1ructio11.\):
IF ANY JUDGE DOCKET NUMBER
DATE
04/05/2018
FOR OFFICE USE ONLY

RECEIPT# AMOUNT APPL YING IFP JUDGE MAG. JUDGE