LANSING – Attorneys from Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C., a Michigan-based law firm, announced today that they have filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the family of an unarmed man who died while restrained facedown in police custody.
The family of Anthony Hulon filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the City of Lansing and the officers responsible for using “excessive force” and “permitting collusive statements by involved officers.”
Hulon died on April 11 after he was handcuffed behind his back and pinned on the ground by Lansing police officers in a jail cell after being transported from Sparrow Hospital to the Lansing City Jail. Hulon, who was arrested for simple domestic assault, had his ankles shackled and was forcefully held down by three officers.
Officers Gary Worden, Charles Wright and Trevor Allman were captured on video pinning Hulon to the ground on his stomach and chest, compressing his lungs and restricting his ability to breathe for over 5 minutes, even as the man moaned in agony, repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe.”
Hulon, 54, suffered cardiac arrest and anoxic brain injury, according to medical records. The Ingham County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the cause of death as positional asphyxia and the manner of death as homicide.
Buckfire Law trial attorney Jennifer Damico, the lawyer representing Hulon’s family, said their 30-page civil action filed in the Western District of Michigan, will continue an important conversation on the “ongoing problem of police brutality.”
“This isn’t the first time this has happened in the Lansing City Jail, in the same cell nonetheless,” Damico said. “This department knows better, and knows about the risks associated with positional asphyxia. It shows that this department turned a blind eye to the rights of citizens and has learned nothing from prior incidents.”
Michigan State Police recommended that criminal charges be filed by the State of Michigan Attorney General against the four officers. The matter is still under investigation.
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The lawsuit comes nearly five months after the death of George Floyd, whose death in police custody sparked massive protests against police brutality. Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was videotaped kneeling on the handcuffed Floyd’s neck for over 8 minutes as the man repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.”
“It’s tragic that we continue to see more and more instances of police brutality,” Damico said. “This department, once and for all, needs to be held accountable.”
The lawsuit seeks all permissible damages under Michigan law.