LISBON - A Salem man arrested by local authorities is seeking more than $75,000 from county officials and offices for emotional stress and wrongful arrest among other things in a civil lawsuit filed Friday in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.
Joshua Best, Sharp Avenue, Salem, claims authorities, including members of the Columbiana County Sheriff's Office came to his home on July 31, 2013 with an arrest warrant for Melanie Paulin. Paulin was at the Sharp Avenue home, and the lawsuit claims she was preparing to leave in the morning.
Authorities reportedly demanded to search the house for Paulin, but Best declined to allow them inside. Best then claims they asked him to search the house himself and he agreed. According to Best, he then placed his daughter, Rocklynn Best, in a walker, secured the dog and locked the top lock on the door.
The lawsuit states Sgt. Alan Young then began to kick Best's front door, causing his daughter to become upset. He then allegedly told law enforcement officials about the child becoming distressed, and they responded by forcibly entering his home, pinning him to the ground and threatening him with harm - including electric shock - in front of his daughter.
Additionally, Best is claiming he was handcuffed and shoved into a transport vehicle without shoes or outerwear. Authorities then went through the house, found Paulin and took her into custody on the warrant.
Best was charged with obstructing official business, but the charge was dismissed in Columbiana County Municipal Court on May 12, 2014.
The civil lawsuit, which was filed by Youngstown attorney Rhys B. Cartwright-Jones, goes on to claim authorities acted "willfully, maliciously and unlawfully, rendered and seized, attacked, abused and tortured" Best using "excessive and unreasonable force." The lawsuit further claims authorities were not properly trained and showed indifference for people's constitutional rights.
Finally, the lawsuit claims authorities wrongfully charged him and have caused him emotional distress, physical pain and injury to his reputation.
Besides Young, the lawsuit names Sheriff Ray Stone, Chief Deputy Allen Haueter and the remainder of the sheriff's office. The lawsuit also names the county commissioners both by the office and individually by name. Additionally, it lists other unknown defendants, noting they are probably police from the City of Youngstown, Mahoning County and neighboring police departments Best believes were also there.
Haueter said Friday afternoon he is aware of the lawsuit and believes deputies were acting within the scope of their duties. He declined to comment further, noting the matter will be turned over to the attorneys.