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Doctor files lawsuit against Merrillville over arrest

Updated: February 6, 2012 10:04PM

The head of Methodist Hospital Southlake’s Spine Care Center is suing the town of Merrillville after he was arrested two years ago following a dispute over a parking ticket at the hospital.

Dr. Elian Shepherd filed the lawsuit in December in Lake County courts, but it was officially transferred this week to the U.S. District Court in Hammond.

An attorney for the town could not be reached for comment.

Shepherd claims in his lawsuit that he was responding to a patient’s medical emergency on Dec. 18, 2009, when he parked his car right by the front doors of the hospital. The lawsuit says this is standard practice for doctors and that Shepherd told a security guard about the emergency before he went in.

However, when he came back out, Merrillville police were by his car issuing a ticket for parking in a fire lane, according to the lawsuit. Shepherd asked why they were writing the ticket, the lawsuit says, and one of the police officers then became “verbally and physically abusive,” twisting Shepherd’s right arm.

He was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting law enforcement. The charges were dismissed a few months later.

Shepherd claims in the suit that his First, Fourth and 14th Amendment rights were violated.

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