Accused of fracturing the arm of a woman who called 911 with a noise complaint, a North Carolina police officer was recently named in a federal lawsuit for use of excessive force.
Around 9:15 p.m. on April 8, 2020, Cindy Gardner, then 49, called the Mooresville Police Department to complain about the noise outside her apartment complex and the potential spread of COVID-19, according to the lawsuit. Mooresville police Sgt. Russell Clark arrived at her door and informed her that the town did not have a curfew that he could enforce.
As Sgt. Clark returned to his patrol car, Gardner followed and requested that he enforce a community rule for 10 p.m. quiet time. According to the suit, Clark “rudely refused the request.”
Shortly before 9:30 p.m., Clark approached Gardner, who was standing in the doorway of her apartment. A group of bystanders reportedly accused Gardner of recently kicking them.
After Gardner denied the allegation, Clark ordered her to bring her driver’s license to the door. When Gardner attempted to “engage in a civil conversation” with the police sergeant, Clark allegedly shouted, “Give me your license or you will go to jail!”
According to the lawsuit, Clark reached into Gardner’s apartment before she could comply, pulled her outside, and threw her to the ground. As he began to handcuff Gardner, Clark allegedly twisted her left arm with enough force to fracture the bone.
Gardner was placed in the backseat of Clark’s patrol car until he ordered another officer to transport her to a hospital. According to Gardner, the injury left her arm permanently disabled.
Facing a misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer, Gardner is currently scheduled for an April 18 court hearing. She recently filed a federal lawsuit against Clark and Iredell County for use of excessive force, assault and battery, and violations of Gardner’s constitutional rights.