Wyoming Man Claims Deputies Watched Him Have Seizure During Warrantless Arrest

A Wheatland man admits he unknowingly cashed a false check for a TikTok girlfriend, but is suing Platte County, its sheriff’s office and a pair of deputies for allegedly watching him have a traumatic seizure during a warrantless arrest.

Clair McFarland

April 24, 20245 min read

The Platte County Sheriff's Office and jail in Wheatland, Wyoming.
The Platte County Sheriff's Office and jail in Wheatland, Wyoming. (Google)

A Wheatland, Wyoming, man who says he unknowingly cashed a false check on behalf of his TikTok girlfriend is suing Platte County, its sheriff’s office and two deputies on claims they wrongly arrested him and violated his rights.

Bryan Hays claims one deputy came to his home on false pretenses and arrested him without a warrant; then another deputy deprived him of medical care for his alcohol withdrawals at the jail, causing him to fall in the shower and incur brain damage that put him in a coma for a week. 

That TikTok Girlfriend

Hays was at his Wheatland apartment home drunk a year ago, April 24, 2023, when Platte County Sheriff’s Deputy Cody Keller approached and asked to speak with Hays about a false $4,850 check Hays had reportedly deposited in his account at the local bank, according to criminal and civil court documents.

Hays said he was in an online relationship with a woman he met on TikTok. She said she was mailing him a check, and he should cash it, buy gift cards with it and send those gift cards to her.  

Days later he realized he’d been scammed and told Keller he was embarrassed and would begin paying the bank back, reportedly.

Keller’s account of the discussion, filed last year in Wheatland Circuit Court, says Hays admitted he was still unemployed and therefore could not pay the bank back.

Fourth Amendment

Keller arrested Hays and took him to the Platte County Detention Center.

A civil lawsuit complaint Hays filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for Wyoming says the arrest happened on the “curtilage,” or immediate outside of Hays’ home — an area that is also protected by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The lawsuit calls the arrest unlawful, saying Keller didn’t have a warrant and came to the home saying he wanted to talk to Hays about the check.

“Keller did not tell Mr. Hays that his actual plan was to arrest and jail him,” says Hays’ civil complaint. “Hays did not invite Defendant Keller into his curtilage so Keller could arrest him.”

‘Ghastly Scream’

Both the criminal case – which has since been dismissed – and the civil case filed Tuesday say Keller took Hays directly to jail.

Platte County Deputy Jordyn Pearson booked Hays into the jail. But Hays was very drunk, the civil complaint alleges.

“(I need) to go to the hospital,” Hays reportedly told Pearson.

The complaint says the deputy asked why.

“So they can start detoxing me,” Hays allegedly responded.

The complaint alleges that Person refused to take Hays to the hospital, saying “we don’t want to waste our resources,” and told Hays his alcohol withdrawal would just be a tougher hangover than usual.

Hays said the hospital could help him by giving him detox medication, the document says.

Pearson did test Hays’ blood-alcohol concentration, which was estimated at the potentially deadly concentration of 0.307%, according to the complaint.

A painful, unmedicated withdrawal reportedly followed.

After 42 hours in custody, Hays suffered a seizure while showering, where he allegedly fell, hit his face on the shower floor, broke several of his teeth and suffered a traumatic brain injury.

He let out what the complaint calls a “ghastly scream” when his skull struck the shower floor.

Pearson reportedly heard the scream and arrived to find Hays writhing in pain on the shower floor.

“Quit it,” said Pearson, allegedly, before calling for other help.

A jail nurse came and asked Hays if he wanted to go to the hospital, and warned him it would be at his own expense, the complaint says, adding that personnel eventually took him to the hospital where staffers treated his seizure symptoms and other injuries.

He reportedly stayed at the hospital for a week, in a mild coma. From there, personnel transferred him to the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, where it took him several more weeks to re-learn how to walk, balance and swallow, the civil complaint says.

Hays’ filing says he continues to suffer from these injuries.

Criminal Case Dropped

The Platte County Attorney’s Office dropped its check fraud case against Hays on Aug. 17, calling it in the “best interest of justice.”

Hays’ lawsuit complaint says his arrest was unlawful because he did not “knowingly” issue a bad check as that law requires. He alleges Keller should have known that at the time of the arrest.

The Ask

Hays is asking for a jury trial; and for monetary compensation for economic and non-economic damages, attorney’s and experts’ fees, pre- and post-judgment interest, punitive damages to punish those listed as defendants and court costs.

The four civil claims his suit lists are:

  • Unlawful arrest in his home, in violation of the Fourth Amendment (against Keller).

  • Cruel and unusual punishment for the alcohol withdrawal incident (against Pearson).

  • Common law negligence (against Pearson and Platte County Sheriff David Russell).

  • And false arrest stemming from an alleged lack of probable cause (against Keller and Platte County).

Colin Simpson and David Hill, of Cody law firm Burg Simpson Elderedge Hersh & Jardine P.C., are listed as Hays’ attorneys in the lawsuit.

Sheriff Russell told Cowboy State Daily he could not comment since the litigation is pending.

Pearson and Keller did not immediately respond to social media message requests for comment.

Clair McFarland can be reached at clair@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter