WEST ASHLEY, S.C. (WCIV) - A lawsuit was filed Monday against the Charleston County Sheriff's Office and three deputies, alleging excessive force in a November traffic stop.
Attorney Lionel Loften filed suit for 19-year-old Devante Pittman for the Nov. 11 incident.
According to the initial incident report from the Sheriff's Office, deputies were investigating reports of shots fired near Elsey Street, just off Wappoo Road in West Ashley.
Officers were still searching the area two hours later at 11:10 p.m. when they pulled Pittman over in the area of Orleans Road and Hazelwood Drive for not using his turn signal.
The incident report states that Pittman "became belligerent and refused to comply with Deputies demands."
Charleston County Deputies James Howard and Christopher Davis were working the traffic stop.
According to the report, Pittman refused to get out of the car and tried to pull Deputy Davis into the car when Davis tried to unlock the driver's side door.
Deputies were able to get Pittman out of the car with a "brief struggle," according to the report.
Pittman was treated at the hospital and transported to the Charleston County Detention Center where he was charged with third degree assault and battery.
The lawsuit filed Monday by Attorney Lionel Lofton claims Davis reached into the car and hit Pittman repeatedly in the face with a metal flashlight.
According to the lawsuit, Deputy James Howard and Deputy Gilbert Baldwin joined Davis to get Pittman out of the car. The lawsuit states that Howard and Baldwin allegedly held down Pittman while Deputy Davis repeatedly hit him in the face.
Attorney Lofton said Pittman suffered significant physical injuries and damages including severe bruising to areas of his face and head and significant damage to his teeth and jaw that will require extensive reconstructive surgery.
Lofton claims in the lawsuit that Pittman did nothing wrong and was wrongfully charged for assault and battery.
Jim Brady with the Charleston County Sheriff's office said SLED and the CCSO Internal Affairs Unit are looking into the incident.
Brady said Deputy Davis was placed on administrative leave with pay while Deputies Howard and Baldwin remain on active duty.
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