On July 21, 2011, Dawn Whitlock filed suit against the Stallings police department and two of its officers for violating her civil rights when she was arrested almost three years ago for disorderly conduct and resisting an officer. In her complaint she alleges that Officers Tahitiana Munoz and Jeffrey Weatherman used excessive, unreasonable and unjustified force that resulted in physical injuries which required surgery.
On July 27, 2008, Officers Munoz and Weatherman responded to a 911 call from Robert Whitmore’s home. Mr. Whitmore told officers that James Polk, Whitlock’s boyfriend, had threatened to shoot him. Ms. Whitlock approached the officers and Mr. Whitmore as he was telling officers his story. Officer Munoz told Ms. Whitlock to get Mr. Polk. As Ms. Whitlock was returning to the house to do as the officer requested, Mr. Whitmore’s wife started an argument with Ms. Whitlock. Officer Weatherman began to yell at Ms. Whitlock, telling her to hurry up and threatening to arrest her. Ms. Whitlock then told Officer Weatherman to “go to hell,” at which point the Officers tackled Ms. Whitlock in her own yard.
Ms. Whitlock told the two officers she had recently had back surgery, and that Officer Weatherman was hurting her by lying on her back. As a result of the arrest, Ms. Whitlock’s back stimulation implant was “catastrophically damaged” which required her to undergo extensive surgery to remove the device and implant a new one.
Ms. Whitlock was tried in district court on the charges of disorderly conduct and resisting a public officer. At the trial, Ms. Whitlock was acquitted of the disorderly conduct charge but convicted of resisting a public officer.