A lawsuit filed in Mississippi County circuit court this week alleges a Blytheville man is in a permanent vegetative state because his trachea was crushed by a Blytheville police officer as he reportedly resisted arrest for public intoxication last month.
In a lawsuit filed by attorneys Jim Harris and Zach Morrison, Officer Doyle Driskill is accused of violating Rayshawn Warren’s civil rights by using excessive force. Said their release:
The lawsuit states that on September 29, 2018, Warren was legally walking up to a house on the corner of West Main and 7th Streets in downtown Blytheville, when Driskill yelled at Warren to “come to me.” Driskill yelled a second time, “come to me,” to which Warren responded, “No,” and started running down West Main Street. Driskill caught up with Warren at Cobb Funeral Home and used an “arm bar restraint” to restrain Warren, resulting in the crushing of Warren’s trachea.
According to the Blytheville police incident report, another officer was giving Warren chest compressions when emergency medical personnel arrived at the scene. Warren was placed under arrest and transported to Great River Medical Center in Blytheville. Emergency room personnel at Great River determined that his injuries were so extensive and severe that Warren was transferred to St. Bernards Medical Center in Jonesboro. Warren has remained hospitalized in a comatose, vegetative state since the incident on September 29.“Mr. Warren’s condition, in all likelihood, will not improve,” Morrison said. “His medical bills, to date, are estimated to exceed $250,000.00.”
The suit, filed by Warren’s mother, names Driskill, the Blytheville Police Department, the city and Police Chief Ross Thompson. It’s a long road in claims against cities for police actions, which enjoy some protection from lawsuits.
The lawyers say the city has not yet responded to a Freedom of Information Act request for recordings from police body cameras in use that day. They complain the police and mayor have turned a “blind eye” to police misconduct in Blytheville.
The Blytheville Courier printed the police account following the incident:
Police arrested Rayshawn Warren on resisting arrest, public intoxication and fleeing on foot in the 900 block of Hearn. “I made contact with the resident of 910 Hearn who stated that a black male in a blue shirt knocked on the door and was talking to her husband,” Officer Driskill wrote in his report. “The resident continued to state that the male tried to push his way into the house pass her husband. The resident also stated that he was acting strange and she believed him to be on something. While on scene, dispatch received several calls concerning a male matching the same description knocking on other doors on Walnut street. I made contact with a caller on Walnut street who stated that the male kept knocking and was asking for help. The caller then directed me to 8th street where he was last seen. I was notified that dispatch received another call of a male screaming for help behind the Baptist Church. I made contact with a black male in a blue shirt, later identified as Rayshawn Warren, who was walking up to a house on the southeast corner of Main and 7th. I attempted to talk to Warren and told him to come to me. Warren continued to walk away and yelled, “No!” Warren was told to come to me again, which he responded with anther, “No!” and he began to run east on Main Street.” Officer Driskill caught up to him at Cobb Funeral Home, attempting to use an arm bar. “The move was ineffective and Warren ran across the street where I again caught up to him and tackled Warren to the ground were I was able to restrain him until other officers arrived,” the report said. “When Officer Krupin and Officer Berumen arrived Warren continued to resist attempts to handcuff him. After handcuffs were applied Warren continued to resist and began to kick at officers. During the altercation I had injured my left ankle and sustained a busted upper lip. Pafford was notified for both Warren and myself. After Pafford arrived, I retrieved my vehicle and returned were Warren continued to resist medical assistance. While en route to Pafford base were they would wrap my ankle, Officer Krupin announced on the radio that Pafford needed to return. Once back on scene, I observed Officer Krupin giving chest compressions to Warren. Warren was transported to the Great River Medical Center where he was later transferred to St. Bernard’s Hospital in Jonesboro.”