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Jury awards $5M to man beaten by San Diego Sheriff's Deputies and attacked by K-9 in 2014

Mikhail Myles was driving near his parent's Fallbrook home when deputies pulled him over and arrested him.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego County has been ordered to pay $5 million to a Black man who was wrongly pulled over, beaten, and arrested while driving near his parents' home in Fallbrook in 2014.

A federal jury delivered its verdict on October 11, in favor of Mikhail Myles, less than a day after deliberations began.

According to the complaint, Myles had picked up his younger brother from a local roller rink in Fallbrook and was less than a mile from his parent's home when deputies pulled him over.

Just minutes prior to the traffic stop, neighbors had called 911 to report a group of young people tampering with cars and ringing neighbor's doorbells before running off.

Myles says he immediately pulled over and obeyed all instructions from the deputies during the stop. 

"I tried to follow the commands as best I knew how," Myles told CBS 8 just moments after the verdict. "I was asking what they wanted me to do and that's when they grabbed me by the arm to come behind the patrol car,"

As Myles walked backward towards deputies, his arms above his head, the lawsuit says deputies handcuffed him and then began to beat "him about the head with a club of an unknown type," before releasing a Sheriff's K-9 on him. 

Credit: Mikhail Myles

"I remember I kept asking them, 'What did I do.' I remember getting hit on my head. The dog that was barking across the street was now biting me. I screamed out of agony."

Deputies arrested Myles and threatened to charge him with several crimes, according to Myles' attorneys, despite neighbors vouching for Myles to deputies. The charges were later dropped. 

In 2015 Myles sued the County, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, and Deputy Jeremy Banks for assault, battery, false imprisonment, and other civil rights violations.

"Eight years, a wife, two kids later. I was fighting for justice. And today, it came and it was a big day," said Myles.

Credit: Mikhail Myles

However, justice did not come without controversy for the County. 

Prior to the trial, Myles' attorneys say the County refused to produce records that showed Deputy Banks had been reportedly involved in numerous excessive force reports. Federal Judge John Houston later sanctioned the county for, according to Myles's attorneys, "acting in bad faith." 

“This trial was not only about the emotional and physical damages Mr. Myles suffered at the hands of law enforcement; it exposed how the County willfully withheld key records and material that denied him due process,” said Myles' attorney Joseph Dicks.

Added Myles co-counsel Linda Workman, “After eight years of litigation, we are thankful that this jury recognized the injustice and disturbing misconduct that has plagued the San Diego Sheriff’s Department for years. We hope this outcome will lead to meaningful change in how deputies treat members of our community."

In a statement to CBS 8, a spokesperson for the Sheriff's Department said:

"The Sheriff's Department appreciates the hard work of County Counsel on this case.  While we are disappointed by the verdict, we respect the jurors and their careful consideration of the facts that were presented to them. We will continue to provide the highest quality public safety services to everyone in San Diego County."

The spokesperson says Deputy Banks has been on the force since 2007 and is currently assigned to the Vista Courthouse.

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