Elderly Man whose Neck was Broken Files Lawsuit Against City, Orlando Cop:
Daniel Daley, 85, was injured in a September scuffle with Orlando police Officer Travis Lamont.
By Jeff Weiner | Orlando Sentinel
Posted 6:39 p.m. EDT, May 5, 2011
The elderly man whose neck was broken in a confrontation with an Orlando police officer in September has filed a lawsuit against the city and the officer, records show.
In a suit filed Thursday in Orlando federal court, 85-year-old Daniel Daley accuses the Orlando Police Department and Officer Travis Lamont of false imprisonment and arrest, and of violating his rights under the fourth and fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Daley was injured on Sept.18, when Lamont responded to a report that the retiree was irate because his car was being towed from a spot near Ivanhoe Grocery on North Orange Avenue.
Lamont's report of the incident indicated that Daley, who police said had been drinking across the street at The Caboose bar, slapped him repeatedly on the shoulder despite Lamont's orders to stop.
Lamont said Daley grabbed his neck and tried to punch him, so he took the retiree to the ground and handcuffed him.
However, Daley's suit claims that Daley, "in gesturing lightly tapped [Lamont], in a non-threatening manner" on the shoulder.
"Suddenly and without warning," the suit says Lamont "body slammed" Daley to the ground, "thus breaking [Daley's] vertebrae in the cervical spine…"
In his suit, Daley also accuses Lamont of intentional infliction of emotional distress and battery. The suit seeks compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and mental anguish, among other complaints.
Orlando police Chief Val Demings said in October that an internal review of the incident determined the takedown move used by Lamont was within departmental guidelines.
Police spokeswoman Sgt. Barbara Jones said on Thursday it would not be appropriate for the department to comment "on any pending litigation."
"Any responses will be made in court and under oath," Jones said. A city spokeswoman explained that the city had not yet been served with the lawsuit and also does not comment on pending litigation.
The Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office decided not to prosecute Daley. Attorney Mark NeJame announced Daley's plans to sue in late September.
After the incident, Daley underwent surgery to repair a damaged vertebra and was later put into a medically induced coma. Doctors installed a plate, a rod and screws in the Orlando widower's neck.