When most people considered seeing the 2009 remake of Sherlock Holmes, the worst they assumed would happen was having to sit though a movie so crappy it made Basil Rathbone spin in his grave fast enough for his corpse to bore a hole straight though to the Earth’s core. Timothy Hoyt got that, and a whole lot more than he bargained for, when he went to see Guy Richie’s effects-laden take on the Great Detective at downtown’s Westfield mall.
Hoyt tells ABC that he and a friend were sitting in the theater, minding their own business, when a security guard pulled him out and accused him of being drunk.
While Hoyt is an imposing figure with his crooked teeth and wild beard, he claims to not have had a drink in 30 years. Hoyt quickly returned to his seat but, ten minutes later, was pulled out of the theater by a group of SFPD officers.
Hoyt says he volunteered to take a breathalyzer but, instead, Hoyt says, without warning or provocation Officer Hank Lum threw Hoyt to the ground, bent his arm behind his back and unceremoniously tossed him out. He was neither arrested nor charged with a crime.
Hoyt received a broken arm from the altercation and is now suing the police department for excessive use of force. This video report on the incident (you can see it above) shows images of Hoyt’s injuries and they do indeed look serious. Hoyt says that treatment for this broken arm has interfered with the cancer treatment he is concurrently undergoing.
Footage of Lum’s post-arrest interview makes it seem like Lum believed Hoyt to be a potential threat, or at least someone likely to cause a scene about being ejected from a movie theater for no reason. The theater’s managed backed up Hoyt’s version of events.
Sherlock Holmes would get to the bottom of this by asking why six uniformed officers were deemed necessary to subdue and allegedly break the arm of single bearded cancer patient, especially in the context of a recent report calling its use of resources into question.
SFPD refuses to comment on ongoing litigation, and, according to ABC7, has “shut down any communication; they refuse to reveal the names of the other officers on the scene or even confirm whether Lum is still on duty.”
Whether cops will bust into your house and break your finger if you try to watch Sherlock Holmes on DVD remains to be seen. But I’d stay away from everything Guy Richie has made since Snatch just to be on the safe side.