Chesterfield County Under Scrutiny: Allegations of Police Brutality Rise to the Surface in Lawsuit
Written by: Sam Orlando
Chesterfield County, Virginia — A lawsuit has been filed against a Chesterfield County police officer and the county's chief of police, claiming excessive force was used during an incident earlier this year, resulting in significant injury to a local resident.
According to a complaint filed in the Chesterfield County Circuit Court on September 26, 2023, which was later moved to the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on October 26, Plaintiff Theodore W. Baker alleges that Officer Luke M. Stover and Colonel Jeffrey S. Katz, the county's chief of police, are liable for the actions and injuries sustained during an encounter on February 3, 2023.
The complaint details that Officer Stover had responded to Mr. Baker's residence following a domestic assault complaint. However, upon arrival, there were no observable signs of an assault on the purported victim, Mr. Baker's ex-girlfriend. Nevertheless, officers turned their attention to Mr. Baker's residence, entering without any resistance from Baker.
According to the documentation, once inside, Officer Stover allegedly grabbed Mr. Baker, moving him from the inside of the house to the front porch. Despite showing no signs of resistance, Mr. Baker claims that Stover, without warning, wrenched his right shoulder, causing a tear to his right rotator cuff and labrum.
Complicating matters further, despite the alleged excessive use of force, Mr. Baker was charged with Felony Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer and Obstruction of Justice, though notably, not for domestic assault. However, these charges were dropped on March 13, 2023, with the prosecutor indicating that after reviewing body camera footage, she did not wish to waste the court's time.
Additionally, the suit brings up the claim that another officer at the scene remarked about Stover's alleged aggressive behavior during the incident.
The lawsuit cites violations of the Fourth Amendment, claiming excessive force and false arrest without probable cause. The plaintiff is seeking damages for physical injuries, economic loss, pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
Both the Chesterfield County Police Department and the involved officers have yet to release an official statement on the matter.