A Massachusetts man has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Ocean City Police Department, its chief and an officer he says used “excessive force.”
In a complaint filed in January, 23-year-old Lucas Joaquim claims officer Christian Rodden tased him “without legal cause” Sept. 26, 2020.
Joaquim’s complaint alleges six counts: deprivation of civil rights, battery, false imprisonment, negligence and two counts of negligent hiring, training and supervision. The complaint states there is video of the incident, and Joaquim is seeking more than $500,000 in damages.
Contextually, on Sept. 26, 2020, the unsanctioned H2Oi event was wreaking havoc on Ocean City. Police arrested more than 100 people throughout the weekend.
Maryland court records separate from Joaquim’s complaint indicate Rodden arrested him that day on three misdemeanor charges: second-degree assault, disorderly conduct and affray. The disposition of all three charges is listed as stet, meaning the case is conditionally resolved.
Rodden has been with the department since May 2018, according to a town news release.
Joaquim could not be reached and his attorney declined to comment. Neither the town of Ocean City nor the Ocean City Police Department immediately returned requests for comment.
Exactly where in Ocean City Joaquim claims the tasing incident occurred is not indicated by court documents, but the complaint states the incident began with Joaquim being assaulted. The complaint names the assailant, but there are no court records of charges against him in Worcester County.
During the assault, according to the complaint, Joaquim was unknowingly stabbed by another, unnamed person in his left torso.
When Rodden arrived on the scene, court documents state Joaquim began to rise from the ground.
“Plaintiff raised both hands up, not resisting nor aggressive and immediately thereafter, without threat of imminent harm, Officer Rodden discharged a taser and/or a conducted electrical weapon twice into Plaintiff’s torso,” the complaint states.
Joaquim fell back to the ground and, “with no lawful orders given,” was immediately arrested and detained, according to the complaint.
“He learned of his wounds from the taser discharge and stab injury and sought medical assistance at the detention center, which was not provided promptly,” court documents state.
Due to the incident, Joaquim “suffered physical and mental pain and suffering, mental anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, fright, and inconvenience,” and incurred medical costs and other fees, the complaint states.
The town has until June 30 to submit its response to the court.