It was on January 9, 2020, when 19-year-old Dion Humphrey had just dropped his sisters off at school. After leaving the girls’ school, Humphrey became “frightened by a loud noise from a vehicle and took off running,” according to KTAR News. The noise that had startled Humphrey was actually the sound of a flash grenade. Police officers in Phoenix shot the flash grenade as they believed Humphrey was a suspect they had been looking for.

Shortly after that, Humphrey says he was hit with rubber bullets and wrestled to the ground by officers. Humphrey also claims that after he had fallen to the floor holding his stomach, he told officers that he couldn’t breathe and that he needed help. The officers responded by telling the young man that he had the right to remain silent. Humphrey was later taken in for questioning and then driven home. The 19-year-old claims he was held in police custody for at least four hours and was never provided with any sort of medical care.


A Case of Mistaken Identity


While police were initially under the impression that Humphrey was an armed suspect who had a history of being violent, they later determined that they had pursued the wrong person. It wasn’t Humphrey they were looking for—it was his half-brother who his parents say looks nothing like him. Apparently, police were after Khalil Thornton, who is allegedly connected to the robbery and shooting of a 66-year-old man.


A Notice of Claim is Filed


After Humphrey was hit in his chest and groin with rubber bullets, he was hospitalized for more than 20 days and is now required to undergo heart surgery. The teen eventually hired a team of lawyers who helped him file a notice of claim which is the first step a person must take if they intend on taking legal action against a police department or a city.

In the claim, Humphrey named the City of Phoenix, its police department, and certain officers as the parties he will be filing a lawsuit against. The claim also states that the teen will be seeking $11.5 million in damages. Humphrey says that he no longer feels safe around police officers as a result of the incident. He added, “Every single time I see them, my heart will start to race, and I will start to feel like I’m panicking.” The claim accuses the officers involved of applying excessive force, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and gross negligence.


Did you suffer physical and/or psychological injuries as a result of a police officer’s act of misconduct?


If you are looking to take legal action and potentially collect damages for the injuries you suffered, you are going to need to be represented by an experienced Arizona police brutality attorney—and can connect you with one now. If you intend on suing the department or a specific officer, an Arizona police brutality lawyer can help you take the required steps to successfully do this.

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