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One-armed man sues police after officers handcuff wrist to ankle

Tom Embury-Dennis

A one-armed former US politician is suing a police department after an officer handcuffed his wrist to his ankle.

Randy Schoonover, a former West Virginia state senator, says Clay County sheriff’s department used excessive force and subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment during an arrest in 2018.

The 65-year-old, who lost his arm in 2014 following an accident on an all-terrain vehicle, filed the lawsuit on Wednesday claiming his constitutional rights had been violated.

According to the lawsuit, which was obtained by the Charleston Gazette-Mail, on 18 Septemer Mr Schoonover began experiencing chest pains, so drove to his brother’s home to see if he could take him to hospital.

Upon arrival, he was approached by an officer who asked for Mr Schoonover’s license and registration, which he did not have on him.

The deputy allowed Mr Schoonover into the house to take an aspirin, after which the former lawmaker called a county magistrate asking him to stay at work late in case he was brought in front of the court.

After Mr Schoonover told the officer about the call, the lawsuit states, the officer arrested Mr Schoonover without informing him why and took him into custody after cuffing his right wrist to his right ankle.

The lawsuit states: “No reasonable police officer ... could have believed that is was reasonable to handcuff the plaintiff's wrist to his ankle, given the nature of the incident, the plaintiff's non-violent conduct, the plaintiff's disabling condition, the plaintiff’s age, and the lack of any threat to the safety of the deputy or the members of the public.”

Mr Schoonover served in the state senate between 1989 and 1999, but later served 14 months in prison after admitting accepting bribes in a business deal.

Additional reporting by AP