State Watch

Alabama man alleges he was handcuffed so tightly his hand had to be amputated

An Alabama man is seeking damages from a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy over allegations that he was forced to amputate his left hand after being left for hours in handcuffs that were too tight. 

Giovanni Loyola, 26, who was arrested last year for disorderly conduct, argued in a federal civil rights complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in April that his constitutional rights against excessive force and unlawful arrest were violated. 

In the 14-page complaint, Loyola argued that the deputy, identified as “Godber,” handcuffed him and placed his knee into Loyola’s back as other deputies performed a “safety sweep” of Loyola’s mother’s home. 

Godber and two other Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies were called to the home at a Birmingham trailer park one evening in February 2020 following reports of gunshots and a fight, according to the complaint. 

The complaint argued that Loyola had “been inside his mother’s home watching television” when police arrived and that there “was no loud arguing or any other kind of disturbance going on inside the home.” 

The Washington Post reported that police said Loyola refused to step outside, became “combative” and pushed Godber away, prompting the deputies to restrain him. 

The complaint went on to argue that Loyola attempted to tell Godber “that the handcuffs were too tight, that they were hurting his wrists, and that one of his hands was growing numb,” but that the deputy “ignored him.” 

The complaint alleged that the plaintiff “continued to complain about the unbearably tight handcuffs,” as he was transported to the Jefferson County jail. 

After being released from jail, Loyola continued to feel “tremendous pain” in his left wrist and subsequently saw a doctor, who told the plaintiff that he had “a severe problem with blood flow to his left hand and is in need of emergent surgery,” according to the complaint. 

Loyola then had two of his fingertips removed, but following continued pain and discoloration of his fingers, his left hand eventually had to be amputated, according to the complaint. 

The Alabama man argued that he had “used his hands to earn a living and his loss of a hand has severely impacted his ability to support himself and his family,” with Loyola’s attorney, Jon Goldfarb, telling the Post that his client had mainly worked in construction. 

Loyola said in an interview this week with that the experience “was real painful.” 

“It’s horrible. I don’t wish that pain on nobody. It’s just really unexpected. I have no words for it,” he added. 

According to the complaint, Loyola is now seeking damages for the alleged excessive force, medical expenses, loss of income and “severe emotional and physical pain and anguish,” that resulted from his injury. 

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has declined to publicly discuss the complaint, explaining that it does not comment on pending litigation.

Tags Alabama civil lawsuit civil rights complaints excessive force The Washington Post

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