Anthony Sevy was looking to pay a $10 parking ticket at a district court in Royal Oak Michigan last February.
He ended up in an altercation that left him with physical and psychological injuries, according to his lawyer, in a complaint filed in district court last week that was obtained by McClatchy.
According to the complaint, Sevy had tried to pay the ticket with pennies in protest of the court’s payment policies, which included a $1.75 fee on credit card payments.
“He wasn't happy about it so, in symbolic protest, he brought back penny rolls to pay for his ticket,” Sevy’s attorney Jonathan Marko told WYJB. The clerk wasn’t happy about that and “refused to allow him to pay with penny rolls,” Marko said.
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In a video of the incident provided to WYJB by Marko, Sevy can be seen exchanging words with a court officer. He was then asked to leave, according to the complaint.
That is when the court officer followed him out of the lobby, where he was grabbed from behind, choked and thrown to the ground “with such force that he defecated himself,” the complaint says.
During the altercation, Sevy also suffered head trauma, fright and shock and embarrassment, Marko said in his court statement.
That degree of force was “objectively unreasonable and excessive,” he said in the court statement.
Marko said court officers violated Sevy’s First Amendment rights and unlawfully arrested the man. He is seeking damages for each.
Sevy was handcuffed, taken to a holding cell and eventually charged with assaulting or obstructing a police officer and disturbing the peace, according to WYJB. He pleaded no contest to disturbing the peace and the other charge was dropped.