NORTH ADAMS — A man who claims he was beaten by city police during his arrest in 2016 has filed a $2 million claim against the city.
Ronald Thomas claims he was unlawfully stopped by city police in December of 2016 and subsequently beaten.
The claim argues that four North Adams police officers — Nicholas Kaiser, Benjamin Austin, Kyle Cahoon, and David Sherman — falsely arrested Thomas, severely beat him, refused to administer a breathalyzer test upon his request, and were negligent of his medical needs and sent an ambulance away without treating him.
The city has referred the claim, which was filed in May, to its insurance agency, the Massachusetts Interlocal Insurance Association.
Thomas, who provided a copy of the claim to The Eagle, was stopped by North Adams Police on American Legion Drive on Dec. 23, 2016, for what they believed to be an inactive registration. It was later determined that his registration had, in fact, been current.
But the stop set off a conflict between city police and Thomas, the details of which they dispute.
In his report documenting the incident in his police report, Sherman described an "extremely agitated and uncooperative" Thomas repeatedly attempting to exit his vehicle without police permission, cursing at officers, and displaying bloodshot eyes and slurred speech.
Thomas was accused of taking a swing at an officer when they uncuffed his hands to begin field sobriety tests, prompting police to tackle him to the ground and causing abrasions to his face, according to police.
Inside the police station, police said Thomas was to be transported to the hospital, but became combative. Police attempted to "immobilize" Thomas against a wall but he "lost his balance and fell into the window in the lobby, shattering the window," Sherman wrote.
He was not taken to the hospital and held in a cell overnight.
At trial, Thomas' attorney, Alexander Sohn, questioned the officers' actions and argued that while neither physical confrontation was captured on video, two booking videos showed Thomas to be nonviolent.
Thomas claims he was seriously injured, accruing hospital bills and paying for physical therapy, dental treatment, medication and an attorney for his defense in court. Documents related to those payments will be made available upon request, the claim states.
The documents also allege that the incident also caused Thomas "conscious pain and suffering" as well as "negligent infliction of emotional distress."
Thomas was acquitted in November, 2017, by a jury in Northern Berkshire District Court of operating under the influence, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.
The city is still within the legal time frame to respond to the claim, according to Thomas' attorney, Gerald Glasser, of Kalill, Glasser, and Associates of Springfield.
"No one from the city has contracted me yet, so we'll just sit and wait," Glasser said.
City Administrative Officer Michael Canales declined to comment and said that the matter will be handled by the insurance agency.
Adam Shanks can be reached at email@example.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.