An Alabama Man Had His Hand Amputated. He Blames Excessive Force by Police. Now the Case Is Heading to Trial.

Giovanni Loyola
Giovanni Loyola (above) will head to trial on April 15.Handout

Giovanni Loyola claims that he told "Deputy Godber that the handcuffs were too tight, that they were hurting his wrists, and that one of his hands was growing numb," according to the lawsuit.

An Alabama man claiming his hand had to be amputated after being put in a pair of too-tight handcuffs is heading to trial.

Deputy Christopher Godber arrested Giovanni Loyola on Feb. 16, 2020, at his mother's home in Birmingham, according to court records.

Loyola alleges in a lawsuit from 2021 filed in federal court that after being handcuffed by Deputy Godber that night, he told the deputy that the handcuffs were too tight multiple times.

After being released from jail, Loyola went to see a doctor who, after multiple surgeries, eventually amputated his hand, according to the lawsuit.

"Plaintiff used his hands to earn a living and his loss of a hand has severely impacted his ability to support himself and his family," alleges the lawsuit.

He is seeking punitive damages for unreasonable seizure and excessive force and well as injunctive relief "sufficient to protect Plaintiff from the ongoing harassment and intimidation of [Deputy Godber]," according to the lawsuit.

The case will now head to court, with the trial scheduled to start on April 15.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says that a call came in on the night in question claiming that gunshots were heard and that "there were two males fighting outside and they were seen either unloading or loading large weapons," according to the lawsuit.

Once on the scene, the deputies also claimed they "could hear loud arguing from inside the trailer," says the lawsuit.

Loyola says he was not yelling, arguing, or fighting prior to being detained by police, in his lawsuit.

Deputy Godber then knocked on the door and allegedly "reached inside the doorway, grabbed [Loyola] by the wrist and jerked him outside the home and down the steps," according to the lawsuit.

He then allegedly "slammed [Loyola] against a car, threw him to the ground and punched him in the face with his fist," before then cuffing Loyola's hands together "extremely tightly" and placing his knee on Loyola's upper back, alleges the lawsuit.

Loyola claims that he told "Deputy Godber that the handcuffs were too tight, that they were hurting his wrists, and that one of his hands was growing numb," according to lawsuit.

The handcuffs were not loosened until hours later, according to the lawsuit, when Loyola was booked into jail on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

He was booked into jail on Feb. 16 and released on Feb. 28, according to the lawsuit.

In the arrest report, Deputy Godber claims that Loyola was "loud" and "intoxicated" when officers arrived at the trailer.

Loyola "immediately became combative" and pushed Deputy Godber away, according to the arrest report.

Deputies then took Loyola to the ground, at which point he allegedly began struggling in order to prevent his hands from being handcuffed, says the arrest report.

A memorandum opinion from the judge says that there is no body camera footage from this part of the arrest, though there is footage of Deputy Godber appearing to slightly loosen the handcuffs at some point.

The arrest report also notes that Loyola had four outstanding warrants at the time of his arrest.

After his release, Loyola went to a doctor and was "found to have a severe problem with blood flow to his left hand and is in need of emergency surgery," says the lawsuit.

He would undergo multiple surgeries over the next year, first losing a few fingertips and then ultimately an amputation of his hand.

Lawyers for Loyola and Deputy Godber did not respond to requests for comment.

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