CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A woman has filed a lawsuit against the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office claiming that deputies used excessive force during a traffic stop last year.
Lawyers for Destiny Deas filed the lawsuit on Thursday and named not only the sheriff’s office, but Sheriff Al Cannon and four deputies.
The incident happened on Sept. 21, 2019, when lawyers say Deas was followed by a Charleston County deputy for nearly 2 miles in the North Charleston area, and then stopped near Highway 78 in Ladson for a tint violation.
During the stop, deputies said they detected marijuana coming from the vehicle to which Deas admitted the substance was in her vehicle. She was then asked to step out and placed in handcuffs.
According to the suit, since the responding deputies were all men, Deas asked if a female deputy could come and search her.
Lawyers say as she did this “she tensed up and was immediately slammed while handcuffed" by four deputies. Deas reported that while on the ground she felt one of the deputies place their knee with their full body weight on her back.
“She could not breathe and temporarily lost consciousness,” the suit states.
Deas said she woke as she was being “man-handled while on the ground causing road rash, bruising, and contusions.”
According to her attorneys, one of the deputies was straddling her back and pressing “what felt like his genitals against Plaintiff’s buttocks as her pants came down during the struggle.”
The suit states that the injuries Deas sustained caused one of the deputies to call EMS, however lawyers say their client was upset, refused EMS' care and told them she would be seen by detention center staff for her injuries.
Deas’ lawyers said because of their client’s sexual orientation, she dresses in a very masculine manner.
“Plaintiff felt this was a factor in why she was treated with such physical aggression,” the suit stated.
In addition to excessive force and assault against the four deputies, she is suing the sheriff’s office for gross negligence, negligent training and supervision and false arrest; and all parties for battery.
The lawsuit requests a jury trial and seeks actual, special and punitive damages.