At least one Ferguson, Mo., police officer has had some legal trouble in recent years, albeit while employed at another law-enforcement agency, the Huffington Post reports. Justin Cosma, who used to work at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, is currently battling a civil rights lawsuit after he allegedly hog-tied and roughed up a 12-year-old boy.
According to the report, Cosma—who was one of the officers behind the arrests of Huffington Post and Washington Post journalists at McDonald's during the protests—along with fellow officer Richard Carter, approached the young boy, who was checking the mailbox at the end of his driveway, in June 2010. The lawsuit, which was filed in 2012, claims that they asked the 12-year-old if he had been playing on a highway, and after the child said that he had not, the officers started getting aggressive.
"Unprovoked and without cause, the deputies grabbed [the boy], choked him around the neck and threw him to the ground," the lawsuit claimed, according to the Huffington Post. The young boy, who was without his shirt, allegedly "suffered bruising, choke marks, scrapes and cuts across his body," the report read.
The boy had to receive treatment for his injuries, but the officers reported the incident as "assault of a law enforcement officer third degree" and "resisting/interfering with arrest, detention or stop."
Moreover, HuffPost notes, prosecutors "refused to issue a juvenile case."
The child's lawyer, Richard R. Lozano, is expecting the case to go to trial early next year, according to the news site.
"The lawsuit alleges that Justin Cosma and Richard Carter, two deputies with the Jefferson County, Missouri sheriff's department in 2010, assaulted my client during an encounter on my client's driveway while his mother was inside their house. My client was 12 years old at the time, shirtless and was not suspected of any criminal behavior," Lozano wrote to the HuffPost in a statement regarding the incident.
“He was checking the mail. The deputies approached my client and the encounter quickly escalated," the statement continues. "My client was restrained, choked, thrown to the ground and hogtied by the two deputies. He suffered scrapes and choke marks to his neck. No charges were ever brought against my client. It is my understanding that Justin Cosma is currently an officer with the City of Ferguson."
Read more at the Huffington Post.