Phenix City, AL — The taxpayers of Phenix, Alabama will likely soon be held liable for police misconduct after dashcam was released showing officers rip an innocent man from his vehicle and brutally beat him for no reason. The man’s only crime was driving a truck similar to another truck suspected of a DUI.
According to a recent lawsuit, Michael Elias Ruda had harmed no one and was simply driving down the road when police officers mistook him for an alleged DUI suspect and pulled him over.
The entire incident, according to the lawsuit, was due to the fact that Ruda was driving a white pickup truck.
According to a report from WBRL:
THE EVENTS THAT LED TO RUDA’S LAWSUIT AGAINST PHENIX CITY POLICE OFFICERS TOBIAS BOISVERT, MICHAEL BETTENCOURT, AND JOSHUA GEIGER STARTED JUST AFTER MIDNIGHT WHILE OFFICER BOISVERT WAS PATROLLING ALONE, SAYS RUDA’S LAWYER, GRIFFIN SIKES.
ACCORDING TO COURT DOCUMENTS, BOISVERT “RECEIVED A RADIO CALL FROM HIS DISPATCHER REQUESTING THAT BOISVERT BE ON THE LOOK-OUT FOR A POSSIBLE DUI SUSPECT DRIVING A WHITE PICKUP TRUCK.”
SHOWN IN DASHCAM FOOTAGE, BOISVERT APPROACHED TWO WHITE PICKUP TRUCKS DRIVING IN FRONT OF HIM ON HIGHWAY 280, AND BOTH STOPPED AT A RED LIGHT.
RUDA WAS DRIVING THE “HINDMOST OF THE TWO” TRUCKS, THE IDENTITY OF THE DRIVER OF THE FIRST IS STILL UNKNOWN.
“BOISVERT ACTIVATED HIS POLICE VEHICLE’S SIREN AND BLUE LIGHT,” AS HE APPROACHED THE TWO VEHICLES. WHEN THE LIGHT CHANGED, THE FIRST DRIVER REPORTEDLY DROVE ONTO A SERVICE RODE AND LEFT THE SCENE, WHILE RUDA PULLED INTO THE PARKING LOT OF THE GLORY DAYS BAR, COMPLYING WITH THE OFFICER’S SIGNAL TO PULL OVER.
After Ruda legally parked his truck and tried to get out of the vehicle — doing everything in his power to comply with the officer — he was still attacked and assaulted for absolutely no reason.
“Before Mr. Ruda could exit his vehicle, defendant Boisvert exited his police cruiser, drew his pistol, and while threateningly pointing his pistol at Mr. Ruda, aggressively shouted at Mr. Ruda to get out of his vehicle and show his hands,” court documents state in a section titled “Allegations Common to All Claims.”
The three officers then reportedly “immediately and without cause violently assaulted Mr. Ruda,” leading to multiple injuries including a broken arm, several “bloody abrasions, lacerations and bruises to his face, head, chest, abdomen, back, arms and legs,” says the court document. Officers also “assaulted him with a Taser.”
All of this force was used against Ruda, despite the fact — as seen in the video — that “he offered no resistance and he took no actions, other than defensively attempting to avoid, ward off, or minimize his injuries” during the alleged unlawful assault by police.
Yet still, however, the department investigated themselves and found that their officers did nothing wrong when they ripped Ruda from his truck and beat and tasered him for no reason.
“The March 2018 use of force complaint cleared the officers of wrongdoing,” said Phenix City Chief of Police Ray Smith. Police “cannot speak on pending litigation,” as it is their policy.
After the incident, Ruda was charge with multiple flagrant violations, including DUI, attempt to elude, criminal mischief, and resisting arrest.
Showing the entire unnecessary nature of the stop, Ruda fought his criminal charges in a non-jury court and was acquitted on all of them except for the resisting arrest charge for covering his head while police beat him.
Now, Ruda’s lawsuit seeks relief for the severe pain, both mentally and physically, this incident has caused him. And, as is the case most of the time, since the officers were not held accountable, the taxpayers most assuredly would be.