$5 Million Lawsuit Details Horrific Police Violence in Alleghany County - Deputy to Stand Trial
Written by: Sam Orlando
Alleghany County, VA — A lawsuit filed on August 25, 2023, alleges that an Alleghany County Sheriff's Deputy, James R. Wright, used extreme and unconstitutional force against Joshua L. Barricks, a local resident. The incident, which occurred on March 30, 2022, is the latest in a string of allegations against law enforcement for excessive use of force.
According to the lawsuit, Deputy Wright approached Barricks, who was skateboarding in the parking lot of a Farm & Fuel store and was suspected of public intoxication. Wright activated the emergency lights of his marked SUV owned by the Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office and Barricks immediately raised his hands in surrender.
Ignoring the peaceful gesture, the lawsuit alleges that Deputy Wright slammed Barricks to the ground, slammed his head into the concrete, and punched him in the face at least twelve times. The complaint further states that Barricks was neither resisting arrest nor attempting to escape, and he was unarmed at the time of the beating.
"It was clearly established that beating an unarmed suspect multiple times on the face and head while he is lying down and not resisting arrest constitutes excessive force," the lawsuit says, arguing that an objectively reasonable officer would have known this.
The complaint also points out that the use of such force was not only unconstitutional but also deadly. The lawsuit goes as far as stating that Wright was "motivated by evil motive or intent," acting with "reckless or callous indifference" to Barricks' federally protected rights. As a result of this alleged misconduct, Barricks has suffered debilitating injuries, including a brain bleed.
The lawsuit is seeking $5 million in compensatory damages, punitive damages to be determined by the jury, attorney’s fees, and other costs incurred by the plaintiff.
The Plaintiff is represented by Gentry Locke, one of Virginia's preeminent law firms, based in Roanoke. With three attorneys assigned to the case, Gentry Locke's involvement may signal an aggressive season of litigation ahead for the Alleghany County Sheriff's Office.