Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Friday, August 22, 2014
Man sues deputy for excessive force

A man armed with a loaded handgun who struggled with a deputy on the side of U.S. 1 is suing the deputy for excessive force, according to federal court records.

A U.S. magistrate ruled on Aug. 14 that Robert Allen Christiansen's civil suit against Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy Christian Duncan can proceed. However, the claims against Sheriff Rick Ramsay and the claim that Duncan filed a false police report will not be part of the lawsuit because they didn't meet legal requirements, according the magistrate's ruling and court records.

Christiansen claims that in July 2013, he was fixing a friend's car on the side of U.S. 1 at Mile Marker 68 in Layton and had gotten dirty, giving him the appearance of being homeless and/or hitchhiking, records state.

He further claims he followed Duncan's orders of keeping his hands where they could be seen and provided an identification card, but "instead, Deputy Duncan went beyond the scope of suspicion of hitchhiking" and began shouting at him to turn around so he could be handcuffed, according to his complaint.

Christiansen claims Duncan smashed his face into the ground and that those actions were uncalled for, according to his lawsuit.

The sheriff's office reported that as Duncan ordered him to keep his hands up, Christiansen appeared to be reaching for something. As the officer started to handcuff him, he reportedly saw the black handle of a gun in Christiansen's waistband.

A struggle ensued as the deputy tried to get the gun and a good Samaritan stopped to help while backup deputies were en route, reports state.

Deputies recovered on Christiansen a Heckler Koch 9mm pistol with six rounds loaded in the magazine, according to reports.

Christiansen was charged with carrying a concealed firearm, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and resisting arrest. The case went federal due to a previous conviction of Christiansen for armed robbery outside Monroe County.

Christiansen was convicted on Feb. 20 in federal court of a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Christiansen filed his civil suit against Duncan on July 31 from prison. He is appealing his criminal conviction.


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