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Federal judge rules against Tompkins deputy for excessive force in Lansing arrest

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

A federal judge ruled that a Tompkins County Sheriff’s Deputy utilized excessive force during the 2019 arrest of Ronald Georgia in Lansing, awarding Georgia $50,000 for excessive force and false arrest. The judgment came after a bench trial overseen by U.S. Magistrate Judge Miroslav Lovric, who, however, dismissed Georgia’s claim of malicious prosecution. The incident, which resulted in Georgia’s back pain, wrist lacerations, and mental and reputational damage, was captured almost entirely on Deputy Kyle Davenport’s body camera.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

Georgia’s wrongful arrest occurred when Deputy Davenport responded to a noise complaint at Georgia’s property. Despite Georgia’s assertion that Lansing lacked a noise ordinance—a fact Davenport acknowledged—Davenport proceeded to shove Georgia, leading to his fall and subsequent arrest. Charges against Georgia were later dropped. The judge’s decision highlighted that Georgia’s behavior did not warrant Davenport’s forceful response, deeming it unreasonable and unlawful.

The ruling has sparked discussions on police accountability, with Georgia’s attorney advocating for officers to bear personal financial responsibility for misconduct. Tompkins County Sheriff Derek Osborne expressed concerns with the decision and mentioned ongoing reviews for future actions. The county is considering an appeal, underscoring ongoing debates over law enforcement practices and civil rights.