He had just bought a home near Huntsville, Ala., and was breaking it in with a housewarming party when sheriff’s deputies knocked on the door.
When the law-enforcement officials refused to say why they had come to his new home, Dominique Kenebrew denied them entry. It was then, he claimed, that the deputies tried to enter the home, tasing him in the back.
The electrical engineer filed a federal lawsuit against Madison County, Ala., deputies and Sheriff Blake Dorning on Monday for illegal search, illegal seizure and excessive force, AL.com reports.
The official complaint claims that Deputy Daniel Dejong "shot Kenebrew in the back with his taser, delivering a five-second electrical shock … pulled the taser trigger two more times, delivering two more five-second electrical shocks," during the May 2013 incident.
Kenebrew was arrested after the altercation on charges of obstructing government operations, but he was acquitted.
More than two dozen guests were in attendance at the party when its host was apprehended. Kenebrew and his guests are black, but the 28-year-old is reluctant to say that race was a factor.
"I really don't want to go that route," he told AL.com. Still, he says of the officers, "I don't think they expected me to be the owner of the house."
Police reports and the lawsuit, while agreeing on the basic facts of the incident, vary in the specific details.
When officers knocked at Kenebrew’s new residence around 11 p.m., he stepped outside to respond to them, closing the door behind him. The officers did not have a search warrant, so Kenebrew denied them entry. According to Kenebrew, AL.com reports, the deputies tried to walk around him and enter the house anyway. Dejong says that he had noticed liquor and beer inside the home and what he thought could be underaged drinkers.
"I once again advised the suspect that I needed to check on the welfare and ages of the persons inside the residence, and that at this point, I was not asking his permission to enter," Dejong claimed in his report. Kenebrew reportedly denied permission, so Dejong said he tried to force his way in, but the homeowner blocked his path.
Dejong reported that he tried to pin Kenebrew’s arms behind him, but the 28-year-old was too big. However, he did admit that Kenebrew never made any threatening gestures toward the officers. Because he was unable to deter the homeowner, Dejong wrote in his report, he took out his stun gun.
At one point, a guest peeked out the door to see what was going on, and Kenebrew turned. It was then that he was tased in the back. Dejong stated in his report that he stunned the homeowner twice after that when Kenebrew did not obey commands to turn over and put his hands behind his back.
The lawsuit claims that after Kenebrew was stunned, deputies entered the home and handcuffed two guests, "all without a warrant, probable cause or reasonable suspicion." Nothing illegal was found upon entry, and there were no minors present, AL.com notes.
"It was determined that the patrons inside the house were not violating any laws within the residence," Dejong acknowledged in the report.
"Dejong's use of force was completely unnecessary and was excessive," the suit claims.
Read more at AL.com.