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Friday, June 14, 2019 6:40 pm

Man whose charges were dropped suing city, police officers

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

A Fort Wayne man who recently escaped an attempted murder charge and now is named in a federal drug case is suing the city and several police officers. 

Timothy Coats argues in a four-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne that officers Shannon Hughes, Scott Martinez and three other officers listed only by their last names – Straussberger, Hollow and Hawthorne – “violated (his) right to be free from unlawful search and seizure, false arrest, and excessive force under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Coats, 26, had been charged in state court with trying to kill a man March 25, but the charges were dismissed after the victim took back statements made to police indicating Coats was the attacker. He is charged in federal court with possessing and selling drugs including marijuana and prescription painkillers.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and attorneys fees. It accuses the officers of several misdeeds from August 2017 to May 2018, including making “a misleading probable cause affidavit,” being held at gunpoint by up to 20 officers, stealing three of Coats’ cellphones and being stopped without probable cause.

On April 30, 2018, according to court documents, an officer believed to be Criswell pointed a gun at Coats’ head and threatened to “blow his brains out” after Coats stopped to help after witnessing a traffic accident.

The city also is named as a defendant. Its lawyers have not yet responded to the lawsuit.

No hearings are scheduled in the case, court records show.

mleblanc@jg.net