A former Baton Rouge resident who suffered a ruptured bladder in 2007 testified Thursday he was intoxicated and being a “smart aleck” at a city police substation, but said his conduct did not justify him allegedly being kicked by a then-police officer, who is now in prison.
The former officer, Nathan Davis, denied Brian Townsend’s kicking allegation in a videotaped deposition shown Thursday to an East Baton Rouge Parish jury.
Townsend, who underwent bladder surgery after his misdemeanor arrest, sued Davis and the city-parish and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
The civil trial of Townsend’s lawsuit is expected to conclude Friday in state District Judge Todd Hernandez’s courtroom.
Townsend, who now lives in Texas, testified — often in tears — that it is “unbelievable” to hear Davis deny kicking him while he was handcuffed and kneeling on the floor.
“Every time I take a shower I see a 10-inch scar. It’s insulting for me to hear that,” he said while being questioned by Henri Saunders, one of his attorneys.
Townsend also said he is convinced his bladder ruptured when Davis allegedly kicked him at the Highland Road substation, and not when Davis tackled him earlier in front of Townsend’s Highland Creek Parkway home after Davis and another officer responded to a noise complaint at the residence.
“There’s no doubt in my mind. I knew the instant my bladder ruptured,” he said.
Townsend described the going-away party he was throwing for a friend as a “gathering of adults” — about 17 to 20, not a “frat party.”
Townsend said Davis and then-fellow Officer Nicholas Batiste came to his home around 3 a.m. and told him the “party’s over” and that it was time “to get everyone out of here.”
He said he went inside and was telling his guests they had to leave when he heard pounding at the door. Townsend said he was surprised to see the same two officers at the door so soon.
“Nathan Davis says to me, ‘What don’t you understand about getting everyone out of here? You think I’m (expletive) playing with you, boy?’” Townsend testified. “I raised my hands and said, ‘Whoa.’ At that point he started reading me my rights.”
Townsend said he turned to tell his then-fiancée that he was being arrested, but before he could reach the door, he was tackled and felt knees in his back, causing him to defecate on himself.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
Townsend conceded to Davis’ attorney, Henry Olinde Jr., that he chanted Davis’ name while at the police substation.
“That doesn’t justify being kicked,” Townsend said.
Townsend also acknowledged to city-parish attorney Tedrick Knightshead that he was “probably being a smart aleck” at the substation prior to the alleged kicking.
In his Aug. 30 deposition from a federal prison in Texas, Davis said Townsend refused to shut his party down when asked to do so. At the substation, Davis said, Townsend screamed obscenities at him and told him, “I’m going to have your job.”
Davis said he did pepper-spray Townsend at the substation when Townsend disobeyed orders and left a holding room in an attempt to go to a restroom.
Davis pleaded guilty in 2009 to violating Townsend’s civil rights. He admitted pepper-spraying Townsend’s face while the man’s hands were handcuffed behind him, but Davis denied kicking him.
Davis is serving six years in federal prison.
Townsend’s misdemeanor charges for a noise violation and resisting arrest were dismissed, and Davis was fired from the Police Department.