Man suing jail for bunk bed fall, now suing cops for excessive force

An undated mugshot of Ron McKie.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The man who is suing after he says he suffered severe injuries after falling out of bed in jail, has filed another suit against a neighboring police department saying he was the victim of excessive force by police.

Ron McKie’s two lawsuits seek more than $75,000 plus fees for the same attorney from the east side of the state.

The first came from October of 2015 after McKie was sentenced to six months in the Van Buren County Jail for receiving and concealing stolen property.

Jail staff had instructions to keep 37-year-old McKie on the bottom bunk. But he was moved to a top bunk despite the fact he suffered from epilepsy.

On Oct. 9, jail video shows him lurching forward and falling, landing face-first on another bunk below.

In a lawsuit filed last month, McKie claims it was a seizure that led to him taking this faceplant out of the bunk after an afternoon nap, four days after he was sentenced.

“He complained about being on the top bunk, and they told him ‘too bad deal with it,'” attorney Christopher Trainor told 24 Hour News 8 in October.

Trainor says Borgess Hospital determined that McKie had a broken nose, cracked eye socket, broken shoulder and head injury.

“Headaches, he’s got blurry vision, he’s got memory problems,” the attorney said.

Trainor says it was up to the jail to keep McKie safe while he was in their custody.

McKie was released from jail soon after his injury, and a month later was being pulled over by a Benton Harbor officer, according to the new lawsuit filed Wednesday.

The suit claims the officer tore McKie’s shirt pulling him out of his pick-up truck after McKie failed to provide identification.

The suit says the officer threw McKie to the ground, re-injuring a bum shoulder. It also says McKie told police his shoulder hurt, but was ignored.

The suit claims that McKie was driven to the Benton Township Police Department where the officer “slammed plaintiff into a wall and threw plaintiff to the ground.”

After McKie provided his name, he was released without charge, the suit alleges.

The new suit names the city and the township and two officers.

McKie did 15 years in prison for a 1995 armed robbery.

After the incidents mentioned in the lawsuit, McKie pleasded guilty to a March 2016 breaking and entering for which he remains on probation.

“People make mistakes and they are brought to jail and you pay for your mistakes. you’re not abused, you’re not punished further,” Trainor said.

The suits are making their way through the system, it will likely be several months before any resolution is reached.

However, in the first lawsuit, the parties have agreed to contract with an mediator.