HPD faces federal lawsuit over excessive force claims - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

HPD faces federal lawsuit over excessive force claims

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The Huntsville Police Department is facing a federal lawsuit including claims of excessive force and false arrest. The Huntsville Police Department is facing a federal lawsuit including claims of excessive force and false arrest.
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

The Huntsville Police Department is facing a federal lawsuit including claims of excessive force and false arrest. The man who filed said it all started when he checked out a suspicious car in his neighborhood in October of 2011.

In the lawsuit, Christopher Lafever claimed he saw a suspicious vehicle in his parking lot and asked the two men inside to leave. He did not know at the time that they were actually undercover Huntsville police officers.

Lafever said the men claimed to be waiting for someone named "Bill." He told them no one by that name lived there. According to the lawsuit he told the men they were trespassing.

Lafever called police and reported the vehicle, but he said responding officers did not get out of the car. He said instead they patrol car just drove past the house. 

In the suit (http://bit.ly/1b9RS2r), Lafever said he put a stun gun in his pocket and approached the vehicle again and again asked the men to leave. He said the officers then flashed badges, but he didn't believe they were actually officers.

Lafever then claimed the two undercover officers got out of their car and informed him he was under arrest. In the lawsuit, he claims the officers attacked him. Lafever said he used his stun gun on the men.

The officers eventually drew their guns during the incident. Lafever said he, his wife and their child were pepper sprayed by the officers.

We did a little digging and found Lafever faces four counts of indictment in connection to the case, including two assault charges, resisting arrest and obstructing government operations.

Lafever claims the undercover agents used excessive force, made a false arrest and assaulted him, among other things. He also claims the department failed to train the undercover agents.

Lafever is requesting compensatory and punitive damages as well as an order to modify policies and keep the officers named in the suit from patrol or other law enforcement duties.

WAFF did reach out to Huntsville Police to get their side of the story. We requested the internal affairs report and current status of the officers involved. The chief responded late Tuesday afternoon saying our questions should be directed to the city attorney. We've placed that call and will let you know as soon as we get a response.

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