The Rutherford Institute’s amended complaint in Burruss v. Riley
Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have identified eight members of a tactical police squad in an amended complaint to a lawsuit against Virginia police over a “welfare check” on a 58-year-old man that resulted in a two-hour, SWAT team-style raid on the man’s truck and a 72-hour mental health hold.
In documents filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Rutherford Institute attorneys named specific members of the Albemarle County Police Department tactical team who were previously identified only as “John Does” because of the County’s resistance to Freedom of Information Act requests. As the November 2015 lawsuit makes clear, despite the fact that police acknowledged they had no legal basis nor probable cause for detaining Benjamin Burruss, given that he had not threatened to harm anyone, was not suspected of any criminal activity, and was not mentally ill, a police tactical team confronted Burruss, surrounded his truck, deployed a “stinger” device behind the rear tires, launched a flash grenade, smashed the side window in order to drag him from the truck, handcuffed and searched him, and transported him to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and mental health hold. Affiliate attorney Michael Winget-Hernandez is assisting The Rutherford Institute with the lawsuit, which charges police with violating the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments as well as state law.