Court rules in favor of cab driver who sued sheriff deputy for use of force

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A deputy with the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office yanked a cab driver out of his car four years ago. A federal judge initially dismissed the lawsuit. But now, a federal appellate court ruled that the deputy used excessive force.
“I thought it was egregious conduct,” attorney Hassanayn Joseph said. “They found that there was no active resistance. That all five uses of force by the deputy were excessive and violated Mr. Saalim’s rights.”

In 2020, cab driver Lutfi Saalim sued deputy Jeffrey Bretzloff for excessive use of force and violation of rights.

The cab driver was parked in a fire zone at the Walmart on Central Avenue.

A Walmart employee asked him to move the car.

The employee reported it to an off-duty sheriff’s deputy who was working for Walmart.

The driver tried to explain what happened, but Deputy Bretzloff cut him off.

The deputy appeared agitated and opened the cab driver’s door. He then pulled his taser and sparked it.

The deputy used a taser on the driver and took him to jail.

Saalim filed a complaint. The deputy was given a written reprimand for violating the use-of-force policy.

The decision was made by internal affairs.

During an interview in 2020, Sheriff Mike Navarre said, “I just thought it was bad. It was a bad betrayal of a response by a police officer, in this case, a deputy sheriff.”

It appears two judges in a high court agree.

“They realize that being stopped in a no-loading zone is not a serious offense. He was not a risk to the officer’s safety, and that he wasn’t trying to flee from any type of scene, and that the reaction of the officer was unreasonable,” attorney Joseph said.

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