Protests and reflection continue in Ferguson, while troubling details were released about an officer who unlawfully arrested two journalists within the first days of outrage.
Coincidentally, Ryan J. Reilly, one of the journalists arrested by Cosma, broke the story.
According to a lawsuit filed in 2012 in Missouri federal court, Justin Cosma and another officer, Richard Carter, approached a 12-year-old boy who was checking the mailbox at the end of his driveway in June 2010. Cosma was an officer with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at the time, the lawsuit states. The pair asked the boy if he’d been playing on a nearby highway, and he replied no, according to the lawsuit.
Without reason, the civil suit claims the officers grabbed the child, choked him, and threw him on the concrete. Since the child didn’t have a shirt on, he suffered bruises, cuts, and scrapes on his body.
The 12-year-old was transferred to a medical facility for treatment, but the lawsuit says Cosma and the other officer reported the incident as “assault of a law enforcement officer third degree” and “resisting/interfering with arrest, detention or stop.”
Reilly tweeted the story Monday morning, along with his thoughts on Cosma:
Justin Cosma also just so happens to be one of the officers who detained me at the McDonald’s. http://t.co/g4aN3E57de
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 24, 2014
The boy’s lawyer, Richard R. Lozano, released a statement on the pending lawsuit.
“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. He was checking the mail. The deputies approached my client and the encounter quickly escalated. 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,” Lozano wrote.
Several officers have been called out since the death of teen Michael Brown, including Eddie Boyd III for pistol-whipping a teenage girl in 2006, St. Ann officer Dan Page for pushing CNN reporter Don Lemon during his Ferguson coverage, and St. Louis County Lt. Ray Albers for telling protestors “I will f***ing kill you” and pointing his gun at them.
Cosma has yet to comment on the lawsuit.