The City of Jenkins has settled an excessive force lawsuit against Police Chief Jim Stephens that was scheduled to go to trial this week in U.S. District Court in Pikeville.
Prestonsburg attorney Ned Pillersdorf, who represented Cecil Boggs of Jenkins in the civil rights lawsuit, announced the settlement of the suit before the February 20 trial date. The city agreed to pay Boggs $55,748.
Boggs sued the city and Stephens after he was arrested Sept. 11, 2015, on charges of domestic violence, assault and resisting arrest.
Boggs claimed Stephens pointed a gun at him, made him lie on the ground and repeatedly beat his face into the ground. He also claimed that Kentucky State Police Trooper Matt Matthews arrived minutes after he was handcuffed, and hit him “at least 30-plus times with a flashlight while plaintiff’s hands were handcuffed behind his back.”
Matthews was later dismissed from the suit by order of the court.
The lawsuit, filed originally in Letcher Circuit Court but moved to U.S. District Court at the request of Stephens, said Boggs suffered a broken nose, broken ribs and lacerations to his face during the arrest.
A citation written by Stephens at the time of the arrest said he was dispatched to the Boggs home for a complaint of a domestic violence incident between Boggs and his wife Kristina Boggs, and that Boggs allegedly had a gun after the altercation. Stephens wrote that when he arrived, Cecil Boggs came out of the house “screaming and cussing,” and refused to lie on the ground as directed. Stephens wrote that he “had to take the above subject to the ground,” and that Boggs still continued to refuse to give him his hand to be handcuffed. “Units were finally able to subdue the above subject as he continued to roll around while screaming and cussing,” Stephens wrote.
Stephens charged him with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. According to the citation, the incident occurred at 4:33 a.m.
Another citation written at 3 a.m. the same morning by then Jenkins Assistant Police Chief Crystal Davis charged Cecil Boggs with fourth-degree assault (domestic abuse). In her citation, Davis said she had been dispatched to a domestic violence incident in progress, and that when she arrived to assist Stephens, two KSP troopers from Pike County and a trooper from the Hazard KSP post, both Cecil and Kristina Boggs “came outside and were compliant.”
Davis wrote that Kristina Boggs had told her Cecil Boggs had shoved her into a sink, and she found “bruising and red marks consistent with (the) complaint.”
All of the charges against Cecil Boggs were dismissed in Letcher District Court.
Boggs has a long history of traffic citations and misdemeanors in Letcher District Court.