Elderly minister: 'Simple apology' could have stopped police law - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Elderly minister: 'Simple apology' could have stopped police lawsuit

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Reverend J.W. Loy speaking to WBTV on Tuesday afternoon. Reverend J.W. Loy speaking to WBTV on Tuesday afternoon.
SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) -

A 92-year-old minister is suing the city of Salisbury, saying unreasonable force was used when a police officer tackled him and broke two bones.

"Boom!  Gone," is how Rev. J.W. Loy, Jr., described what he does remember of the incident to WBTV.

Loy Jr. filed the civil complaint last month in Rowan Superior Court.

It involves an April 2013 incident at Salisbury Gardens, the assisted-living center where Loy lived at the time.

The court filing names Officer Chris Hamm as the officer who tackled Loy. Police had been called because center officials said Loy was uncooperative.

Defense attorney Scott MacLatchie says Loy fell when Hamm tried to grab the minister's cane. The lawsuit says Loy was holding his cane but never threatened the officer with it.

"Mr Loy took his cane, put it up in front of him, he was shaking it, just put it up in front of him," said Loy's son in law Rex Keller.  "He grabbed him by his left arm and his neck and forcibly put him on the floor, it was almost like he slammed him down on the floor."

"He broke my daddy's pelvis in multiple places," Loy's daughter Shari Keller told WBTV.   "He broke the pubic ramus that comes around the front, he was hospitalized for four days, he doesn't remember any of that."

Loy told WBTV that the only thing he did remember was being down on the floor and praying.

"Lord, will I ever be able to stand on my feet again," Loy added.

The lawsuit seeks at least $10,000 in compensatory damages and a jury trial.

Loy says a simple apology would have avoided the need to file suit.

"If he's (Officer Hamm) somewhere and would have come to himself or to a bit of a humanity feeling and realized that he had very stupidly, ignorantly, done something that was totally unacceptable by any reasonable individual, average individual...something like 'oh I'm sorry, you know, I don't know, something just sort of got hold of me and sort of took over. I am sorry, will you forgive me?'

WBTV reached out to the Salisbury Police Department and to the attorney representing the department.

"Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond to this matter," Police Chief Rory Collins told WBTV. "At this time, however, due to the existence of a pending lawsuit, it would be inappropriate for me to discuss this case."

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