$1m suit against Philly police alleges ‘conscience-shocking’ brutality

philadelphia pd car
File photo. (Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro)

Four people have filed a $1 million civil rights lawsuit against the Philadelphia Police Department and three law enforcement officials for allegedly using excessive force to stop the plaintiffs from filming a confrontation.

They’re asking for a jury trial in the suit filed in federal court Monday on the grounds of unlawful search and seizure, excessive force, violations of the right to due process, intentional infliction of severe emotional distress, assault and battery, and false imprisonment.

According to the complaint, plaintiffs Roderick King, Thomas Stenberg, Sara Tice and Brian Jackson were walking near 13th and Rodman streets in South Philadelphia around 2 a.m. on March 31.

The group said they saw a uniformed officer driving a white Philadelphia Police Department SUV in an “unsafe manner.”

Stenberg called out to the officer regarding an illegal turn he made, prompting the cop to pull over and confront the man, according to the suit.

King, Jackson and Tice took out their cell phones and began recording the argument.

The officer allegedly grabbed Stenberg by the shirt and yelled at him, then slapped the phone from Jackson’s hand, causing it to break in the street.

But it was when King told the cop his behavior was “way above and beyond, officer” that he truly became enraged, according to the complaint.

The officer allegedly approached King, who backed away with his hands raised while still recording the incident and told the officer “I have a right to videotape.”

The suit states the officer then grabbed King by the shirt collar and slapped his cell phone from his hand while yelling, “Don’t f—ing touch me!” as King continued to back away and tell the officer he wasn’t touching him.

The officer is accused of shoving King into the street, grabbing him, throwing him up against the patrol car and handcuffing him.

The complaint states the officer told King he was under arrest for “public intoxication,” but never took him to a police precinct.

The officer instead allegedly drove around with King handcuffed in the back of the car, eventually taking him to a dark, unknown location and asking him if he wanted to be taken back to the place where he was initially picked up.

He then drove King back to 13th and Rodman streets, where the other three plaintiffs were still standing, and told the man he was free to go.

But Stenberg, Jackson and Tice said they made repeated calls to 911 requesting a supervisor to the scene so they could report the incident, to no response.

King wasn’t issued any citations or charged with any crimes in connection with the seizure.

The suit alleges the officer used “unreasonable, unjustifiable and unconstitutional” excessive force against King “to silence him from exercising his First Amendment rights.”

It states the actions and motivation of the officer, as well as the district’s sergeant and captain responsible for the cop’s conduct, “were conscience shocking, without conscious regard or due care for plaintiffs” and showed “such wanton and reckless disregard of the consequences as to show defendants’ deliberate indifference to the danger of harm and injury.”

The suit claims the four people continue to suffer “fear, horror and loss of liberty” and were forced to endure “physical pain and horrible mental anguish.”

It also places blame on the city, claiming the violations were a result of Philadelphia’s “policies, procedures, customs and practices of allowing its officers to make stops without reasonable suspicion, and to use unreasonable and excessive force” and claims the city has maintained “an inadequate review of instances of misconduct, abuse of police powers or violations of citizens’ rights by a police officer, a system which has failed to identify instances of abuse of police powers or violations of citizens’ rights by police officers.”

The plaintiffs are asking for $1.05 million in compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney fees and reimbursement for the cost of prosecution.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…

International

British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…

Local

VIDEO: Police seek suspect in molotov cocktail attack…

Police released surveillance video on Wednesday in hopes of tracking down a man who threw a molotov cocktail inside a Brooklyn corner store.

Local

City Council budget asks for 1,000 additional NYPD…

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito unveiled the City Council's budget priorities on Wednesday, including the extra cops for the NYPD at a cost of $94.3 million.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

Books

A debut novel about fate, love and moving…

Pia Padukone talks about her debut novel, "Where Earth Meets Water."

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

NFL

Giants 2014 regular season schedule

The Giants will play five prime-time games — against the Lions, Redskins, Eagles, Colts and Cowboys.

MLB

Jets 2014 regular season schedule

The Jets will play three prime-time games — against the Bears, Patriots and Dolphins — as well as a CBS national game in Week 2 at Green Bay.

NBA

Phil Jackson talked to Steve Kerr, pushes for…

Knicks president Phil Jackson spoke to the media for the first time since firing head coach Mike Woodson on Monday.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."