DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A fired then reinstated Des Moines police officer who has been disciplined for shooting at a television cameraman, attacking a groom at a wedding and assaulting his girlfriend has now been sued in federal court for his attack on a man who called police for help in 2016.
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Des Moines on Monday, Charles Young claims Officer Cody Grimes violated his constitutional right to “be free from the unreasonable and unwarranted brutality of police officers.”
Young, 63, a U.S. Army veteran, called police in March 2016 after a couple he had helped out by giving them temporary shelter at his apartment refused to leave after becoming unruly. Grimes and officer Sean O’Neill responded to his 911 call. Grimes told Young he couldn’t help him. Young, angry at their inaction, shouted and slammed his door closed behind the officers as they left. Grimes claimed the door struck him which prompted him to kick the door in and knock Young to the floor, striking him with his knee. Young ended up with fractured ribs.
The department cleared Grimes of wrongdoing concluding the use of force was proper.
Grimes charged Young with assault on an officer. A jury found Young not guilty. A judge, however, found Young guilty of interference with official acts and he was fined $250.
Young’s lawsuit allegations against Grimes include excessive force and assault and battery. He alleges O’Neill failed to intervene to stop Grimes from attacking and accuses the city of negligent hiring, retention and supervision. He alleges the city failed to train or adequately discipline an officer with questionable and unreasonable judgment and a history of misconduct.
Young seeks money to compensate him for his injury and stress and punitive damages.
Deputy City Attorney Carol Moser said she hasn’t yet reviewed the lawsuit or talked with the officers and “it would not be appropriate to comment on the case.”
Grimes, 37, became an officer in 2007 but since 2010 he has been involved in several controversies.
In October 2010 he was sent to KCCI television studios after employees reported someone throwing rocks at the studio windows. One of the station’s camera operators was outside the studio pointing in the direction the perpetrator had fled when Grimes arrived at the scene. Grimes apparently mistook the station photographer for the perpetrator and fired a shot at him, missing. Grimes was placed on two weeks paid administrative leave.
In July 2011 Grimes responded to a call for assistance to a wedding reception where an off-duty officer reported a physical confrontation between the groom and a wedding guest. Grimes upon arrival slammed the groom to the ground and punched his face, knocking the man unconscious and fracturing his facial bone. The groom sued in 2013 and won a $75,000 judgment against Grimes and the city.
In December 2013 Grimes was charged with domestic abuse after allegedly choking his girlfriend and throwing her down a flight of stairs. He was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser crime of criminal mischief, a level of crime which allowed him to keep his firearm and remain an officer.
Grimes was fired in June 2014 but the city’s civil service commission reinstated him.
Young alleges in court documents that the city continued to allow Grimes to serve in a capacity that put him in touch with the public “despite their knowledge of Grimes’ temper and violent tendencies.”
Grimes was on traffic duty the night Young called police for help with removing his unwanted guests and was dispatched to respond to the call.
A police department spokesman said Tuesday Grimes and O’Neill remain on active duty.
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