Suit: Man in custody for suspended license beaten to death by sheriff's deputies

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 6:03pm

A Gallatin man who was incarcerated and being treated at Nashville General Hospital was beaten to death at the hands of Davidson County Sheriff’s Office deputies, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court.

Micheal Minick’s wife and mother, the co-administrators of his estate, filed a lawsuit against several local law enforcement agencies, Corrections Corporation of America, and Nashville General Hospital over Minick’s death. Overall, the suit names 17 individuals and agencies for their involvement in Minick’s death.

According to the lawsuit, Minick, 39, was beaten into a coma by four sheriff’s deputies while being treated at Nashville General Hospital after his arrest.

Metro Nashville Police Department officers arrested Minick on May 30, 2011, after he was found wandering in the woods. Police allegedly used a stun gun on Minick and took him into custody for failing to appear in court for a suspended driver’s license charge. He was later admitted to Nashville General Hospital for loss of muscle mass and severe dehydration.

The lawsuit said a deputy called for backup in the hospital room after Minick became combative. Then, four deputies allegedly beat Minick, who was already in handcuffs and other restraints. The suit claims Minick was punched, struck with a baton and pepper-sprayed during the incident. When nurses came in, Minick was breathless and blue, the lawsuit said. Hospital personnel were able to resuscitate Minick after 20 minutes.

“Once the code team was able to establish a heartbeat, [Minick] was then removed from Room 7104 and placed in the Intensive Care Unit at Nashville General Hospital, where he languished in a comatose state until June 14, 2011,” the lawsuit states.

Less than a month later, Minick, a father of three, died in hospice care. The lawsuit alleges a failure to provide constitutionally adequate care, failure to protect, and cruel and unusual punishment.

Minick’s family’s attorney, Danny Hryhorchuck, of Morristown, didn’t respond to phone calls as of Monday afternoon.

Metro attorney Keli Oliver said local rules prohibit attorneys from talking about ongoing litigation.

Minick, who lived in Gallatin, didn’t have a violent criminal history in Davidson County, according to court records. He pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in 2005 and also was convicted of theft under $500 in 2001.

23 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 5/29/12 at 4:22

One has to remember that men do not aspire to being a cop for the money it pays. They aspire to that job so that they can take all of the failures in their lives out on someone in handcuffs.

By: Rasputin72 on 5/29/12 at 4:22

One has to remember that men do not aspire to being a cop for the money it pays. They aspire to that job so that they can take all of the failures in their lives out on someone in handcuffs.

By: srm512ss on 5/29/12 at 5:28

As an attorney in Nashville I would assume that Rasputin72 must have issues with the police department. Since we know of no factual details that pertain to this individuals death other than he was in police custody why are these brave men and women failures? Because they do the work none of us are willing to do. So if you think you can do better put on the uniform if your man enough. Its nice to hide behind your computer and criticize our brave men and women who protect us on a daily basis. Come on put on the badge... OH WAIT TO SCARED TO GO TO THE ACADEMY and WALK A BEAT.... YOU FAIL...

By: jdawg on 5/29/12 at 6:55

srm512ss, I would have to agree with you on Rasputin72's comment. I have read his posts before and he does nothing but bash law enforcement. I would suspect that he would have more dealings with the back seat of a patrol car than he would just striking up a conversation with an officer.

By: Whentennesseepi... on 5/29/12 at 7:04

Perhaps Rasputin72 is bashing the cops because they do deserve to be publicly bashed...

After all they are accused of beating a restrained, hospitalized and by all accounts a non-violent man to death.

If any of you don't think we have a problem with the cops in this state then you are all simply fools...

By: jdftn1947 on 5/30/12 at 3:36

there are good and bad among all of us .. I value the police and respect the job they do .. for what they are paid its a thankless job .. and we heap praise on them when they go above and beyond the call of duty .. and we bash them when something like this occurs .. its sad that this happened and the truth will come out .. Michael Minick lost his life his family lost him his children will be without a father but he is not the only victim in this story right or wrong guilty or innocent those who are accused of this will have their lives changed forever ..
when I was employed and went in to work at all hours of the day and nite . the metro officers who had to moonlight as security at the hospital (and they did it becauae we dont pay them enough) . were always good guys
they made sure no matter what hour of the nite . that we felt safe

By: Ask01 on 5/30/12 at 4:29

So sm512ss, why don't you go to the academy?

myself, I'm too old, too smart, and possess far too much self respect and common sense.

How do you arrive at the conclusion of 'brave?"

I would hardly call beating and pepper spraying a handcuffed man to the point he died brave.

There is supposed to be a concept of measured response, meaning, in theory at least, only the amount of force required be employed to subdue a subject.

From my understanding, the individual was handcuffed and otherwise restrained, so what was the point of the apparant excess force. And for an expired license?

Situations such as this bring to life the episode on "South Park" in which the Eric Cartman character becomes a jr law enforcement type, and goes about abusing the citizens, demanding they, "Respect my authority!"

This sort of activitiy makes me believe perhaps the budget for law enforcement is set far above that required. When four deputies are available to beat up a citizen for an expired license, either all serious crimes have been solved, therefore they nhave too much free time, or they are ignoring the more pressing and dangerous cases in favor of the safer, low hanging fruit.

Either way, perhaps we need fewer with less money and equipment if this is all they have time to pursue.

By: govskeptic on 5/30/12 at 6:05

This type of thing happens far too often in this state. Whether shooting or
beating those in custody to death is not justified because of combativeness!
In 99% of the cases there is no way for defendant to escape, so the
permission to beat or kill must be being taught in the Academics and
those type of instructions being a license for such actions needs to be
thoroughly studied at the source! All this over a very-very minor charge!

By: spooky24 on 5/30/12 at 6:06

I might suggest that some need to research Mr. Minick's criminal history at the County Clerks office before condemning officers over the handling of an obliviously troubled man. Again, Judge Blackburn's inability to hold persons responsible for their conduct, or an overloaded system, allowed this man to thwart his court ordered treatment for alcohol issues-which were never addressed.
Since any 'settlement' has been refused, and the dead give away of suing multiple persons along with a ham sandwich show this case has little merit and should be expunged.


By: artsmart on 5/30/12 at 6:17

The sad part that people have to face is that there are bad police officers like there are bad Dr's and bad lawyers. These organizations unfortunately close ranks to protect the bad and therefore they are all painted with a broad brush. Our family has learned these lessons through health issues and an assault on my daughter. Maybe sm512ss could work with people to make the right thing happen and possibly less of this would happen.

By: on 5/30/12 at 6:55

The nature of the job of police officer probably attracts people from both extremes, from those who want to "protect and serve" as well as those whose character would make a toy gun dangerous in their hands. Police and other public servants should be held to a high standard, and at least from the information so far, this was a serious breach in duty and good sense. Without other facts, it sounds like murder.

By: sonny1024 on 5/30/12 at 7:41

my comment goes to srm512ss how many times have you puckered up for the police if i may ask?.the police need no help in making themselves look bad they do a great job of that by their actions just go and ask DARREN ring.i believe 3 where fired and indicted for what they did to him and it wasn't inviting him out for a drink any cop that stands around while another cop abuses someone then that cop is worse then the cop doing the beating.we have a saying here in my small tn town it goes like this,WHEN IT RAINS ITS REALLY THE ANGLES CRYING FOR ALL THE SINS THAT----- POLICE DO TO POOR PEOPLE.i leave you with that little tidbit..

By: BenDover on 5/30/12 at 7:52

You don't beat up someone in handcuffs and restraints.

By: djarrell on 5/30/12 at 8:15

I'm a great public school teacher. I offer my help to proof comments by srm512ss. 9+ errors noted on first read.

By: ctaite on 5/30/12 at 8:37


By: ctaite on 5/30/12 at 8:49

Contrary to Sonny1024's assertions, none of these officers were fired or indicted or disciplined despite lengthy investigations, and there was no evidence the arrestee was beaten at all, much less beaten to death.
It would be great if folks could realize that a lawsuit only contains a plaintiff's allegations, and there are folks who will allege anything if they think there may be big $$$ to be had. Their mantra is "sue the government! The government's got money!!
Perhaps judgment could wait until some actual facts are known . . .

By: jsnap on 5/30/12 at 8:50

Do not jump to conclusions. When the true facts are known, you might see things in another light. It is always dangerous to take charges as facts and not get the other side.

By: wataboutbob on 5/30/12 at 10:16

ctaite has summed this up perfectly

" . . . realize that a lawsuit only contains a plaintiff's allegations . . ."

By: zmania on 5/30/12 at 1:46

If the allegations against the officers and hospital are true, I believe criminal charges should be filled against some of those individuals.
Why did the resort to such violence to a man who was already restrained. This was clearly a controlled environment in which he could've been held down and sedated. Besides, how could someone in his condition muster the energy to require such force to be subdued? This looks more like a beat down than someone being subdued.
I'm by no means bashing law inforcement, but I can't see the officers and hospital winning this case. This wad totally overkill.

By: zmania on 5/30/12 at 1:51

If this man was trully restrained, the officers involved should be indicted for murder. That man had no means of defending himself against an attack of that nature.

By: Whentennesseepi... on 5/30/12 at 8:09

Cops are mostly above the law, the only time they are held accountable for anything these days is when the public outcry is so great the elected officials (sheriffs) and the appointed police chiefs can no longer ignore them.

Lest their own jobs become jeopardized.

The reason this stuff happens, because the public allows it to happen.

You get every bit of the police force your deserve...

By: MetalMan on 5/31/12 at 7:44

Sounds to me like the dude died from the effects of dehydration and loss of muscle mass. Might have had a little loss of brain mass as well. After all, no one but a moron or druggie would get combative with armed deputies while handcuffed.

By: thetruthbetold on 1/7/13 at 8:35

They are negligent at this hospital. Nurses abuse the indigent and prisoners. I know because I worked there. The administration protects them. It's a gang atmosphere. It should be shut down!