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Young's civil suit adds to excessive force case

The Columbia police officer accused of using excessive force against a South Carolina football player is ready for the case to be disposed so he can move on with his life.

David Beddingfield has been suspended without pay since being indicted in August 2008 of misconduct in office. Two years have passed since Gamecocks offensive lineman Kevin Young was arrested following a fight with a West Columbia man outside a Five Points bar.

Young, who is no longer on the team, claims he was punched repeatedly in the face and sustained a bloody nose while being subdued. Police later dropped fighting and resisting arrest charges against Young, a native of Clearwater, Fla., who was a career reserve at USC.

Mark Whitlark, Beddingfield's attorney, filed a motion to have the case dismissed and another motion requesting a speedy trial. He also has spoken with prosecutor Don Sorenson with the First Circuit solicitor's office, which is handling the case because local prosecutors believed it would be a conflict of interest.

"I called (Sorenson) up and said, 'Look, let's cut bait or fish,' " Whitlark said this week. "(Beddingfield) is facing a financial hardship on this thing because of the suspension. This is just dragging on and on despite repeated requests by us."

Meanwhile, Young brought a civil suit last month against the city and officers Beddingfield and Roger Gilland, claiming the incident has caused him mental anguish, humiliation and emotional distress, in addition to his injuries.

The suit, filed at the Richland County courthouse, does not specify the damages Young is seeking. Neal Lourie, Young's attorney, declined to comment.

Beddingfield and Gilland were indicted by a Richland County grand jury for misconduct in office, although prosecutors dismissed the charge against Gilland last year.

Beddingfield faces a year in prison and $1,000 fine if convicted.

Attempts to reach Sorenson and First Circuit solicitor David Pascoe were unsuccessful.

In his lawsuit, Young alleges that after being taken to the ground, Gilland and/or Beddingfield struck him multiple times in the face with closed fists and used their knees to pin him to the ground.

Whitlark said officers were doing their job when they arrested Young, who was listed as 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds when he played.

"If (Young) was beaten the way they were saying, his face would have been torn to pieces," Whitlark said.

Beddingfield had been with Columbia police eight months prior to his suspension. He is on active duty with the S.C. Air National Guard at McEntire Joint National Guard Base but wants to return to police work.

"He loves being a police officer," Whitlark said. "And this has put a real kink in his life plan."

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