- Associated Press - Monday, November 9, 2015

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - The man former Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd assaulted after his arrest in 2012 says he mostly stays at home for fear of retribution from those still angry about what happened to the four-term sheriff.

In an interview with The Sun Herald (http://bit.ly/1iNqVw5 ), John Mark Stahl, 53, said he doesn’t trust any law enforcement.

“I know there are good ones. I’ve seen them. I’ve encountered them,” Stahl said.

“…But for every good one, there seems like there are two bad ones,” he said. “And I don’t mean criminally bad like selling drugs. I’m talking about their treatment of people. You are strong-armed first and then (they say) ‘it’s for our safety and yours.’ Well, if you are the one who has me on the ground with your knee in my back and my neck, I’m not feeling very safe.”

Stahl is suing Byrd, Jackson County and other unnamed deputies for violating his civil, constitutional and human rights when one deputy kicked him in the face with his boot and Byrd twice kicked him in the groin after Stahl was taken into custody for stealing a Jackson County patrol car in June 2012.

Stahl is seeking more than $50 million in compensatory damages and more than $500 million in punitive damages along with costs to cover attorney’s fees and trial costs. He is demanding a jury trial.

Stahl’s attorney, Michael Crosby, filed the suit in U.S. District Court.

“In this case, the sheriff and his deputies, in front of not only his own officers, but officers from another state, intentionally and recklessly violated every constitutional principle he swore to uphold when he outrageously kicked Stahl, and explained to him that the law is irrelevant, that he is going to do whatever he wanted to make Stahl’s life horrible, without any concern for his sworn duty,” Crosby said. “Because the evidence demonstrated his outrageous conduct (in videos), it was a simple matter, to him, to simply destroy the evidence. Most of the time, that works. This time it did not.”

Stahl was arrested on charges accusing him of stealing sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Goff’s patrol car.

Stahl said he is not trying to excuse what he did by filing a lawsuit.

“I’m not trying to minimize my part in this,” he said. “That is not what this is about. For me, it’s about the way I was treated. The way I was treated just wasn’t necessary. The way I was treated was not human. I told them on four or five occasions I surrender and still I’m being abused.”

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Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com

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