Arrested man claims civil rights violated, seeks $20 M

Published 11:52 am Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A $20 million lawsuit has been filed in federal court by a Warren County man who claims his civil rights were violated when he was arrested by Vicksburg police after he distributed fliers during the Miss Mississippi Pageant on July 2.

David G. Atwood II, 28, 750 Rollingwood Drive, filed the suit July 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi in Jackson.

As written, the lawsuit names the City of Vicksburg, Warren County, Vicksburg police officers Daniel Thomas, Chris Tankesley and Penny Jones, Sheriff Martin Pace and an unnamed county motorcycle deputy.

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Atwood claims that while he was attending the pageant, he was handing out fliers advertising a book he recently authored and police stopped him and told him to leave. After going to the police station to question the order, Atwood tried to go back to the convention center, was arrested and charged with trespassing, and his fliers were confiscated and destroyed, he says in the filing.

He cites violations of the First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, states that he suffered physical injury and emotional distress and his motorcycle was damaged when towed and impounded by police.

The suit states that Atwood pleaded not guilty to the trespassing charge, a misdemeanor, in a trial in Vicksburg Municipal Court July 6 and a trial was set for Aug. 22.

The civil suit does not name Atwood’s attorney.

A lawsuit represents only one side of an argument.