ROYAL OAK, Mich. — A Michigan man is suing court officers who were caught on video choking him after he was turned away for trying to pay a parking ticket with pennies, his attorney said.
Anthony Sevy went to the 44th District Court in Royal Oak in February to pay a $10 parking ticket, attorney Jonathan Marko told Fox 2 in Detroit. When he was told that a $1.75 surcharge would be charged to his credit card, he became upset and left.
Sevy returned to the courthouse with rolls of pennies to pay the $10 fine, and that’s when the trouble began, Marko said.
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"He wasn't happy about (the surcharge) so, in symbolic protest, he brought back penny rolls to pay for his ticket," Marko told the news station. "The clerk wasn't too happy about that, (and) they refused to allow him to pay with penny rolls."
Sevy again became upset and exchanged words with court officers. Marko said his client was asked to leave.
"As he was leaving the courthouse with his back to the officer, the court officer began to choke him out, grabbing him, brought him to the ground," Marko said. "Mr. Sevy passed out and defecated (on) himself."
The entire exchange was caught on surveillance video, which Marko shared with Fox 2. In the footage, Sevy can be seen walking toward the courthouse door with a court officer right behind him. As he reaches the door, the officer appears to grab him and take him down to the ground as a second officer comes to assist him in subduing Sevy.
Sevy was arrested and charged with disturbing the peace and assaulting or obstructing a police officer, Fox 2 reported. He later pleaded no contest to disturbing the peace, and the assault/obstruction charge was dismissed.
Marko said the video shows that his client was the victim in the situation.
"I don't think anyone paying in penny rolls, whether it's a preferred thing to do for a court clerk, warrants this type of this assaultive behavior and violation of constitutional rights," Marko told the news station.
Cox Media Group