Penn State student sues police, State College over Paterno riot arrest

penn state paterno riot
A Penn State student sued State College and police for allegedly mistreating him as he was arrested Nov. 10, 2011 during the riot that broke out following the announcement of Joe Paterno’s firing.
Credit: YouTube / C Slye

A Pennsylvania State University student on Friday filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Borough of State College and two police officers for allegedly detaining him without probable cause during the riot that broke out Nov. 10, 2011 after the announcement of former head football coach Joe Paterno’s firing.

The lawsuit further claims at least one of the arresting officers singled out the student because he was president of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.

In the complaint filed in U.S. Middle District Court, undergraduate student Matthew Maser claims he was not participating in the riots, but standing on a ledge with several friends associated with his fraternity “to merely watch the crowd.”

Though a criminal complaint filed Dec. 12, 2011 alleges Maser ignored officers’ orders to disperse, Maser contends he complied by jumping down from the ledge and attempting to walk away from the area.

Despite that fact, Maser claims, the officers named in the suit proceeded to grab him, “throw him up against a mailbox, grab his wallet out of his pocket, and seized his student identification card.”

The suit further claims one of the arresting officers was prejudiced against the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, citing an interview the officer gave in April 2010 in which he described it to a reporter “as a ‘problem fraternity.’”

The officer also confronted Maser at the fraternity house when issuing a citation just several weeks before the November arrest, the complaint states.

“[Maser] was singled out, detained and charged by the Officer Defendants, at least in substantial part, because he was wearing a t-shirt bearing the Fraternity’s ‘letters,’ which clearly made the statement that [Maser] was proud of his association with the fraternity,” the suit reads, claiming the action constituted retaliation against Maser “for exercising his right to free speech under the First Amendment.”

Maser was later charged with failure to disperse upon official order and disorderly conduct.

Charges against Maser were on Sept. 20, 2012 dismissed once prosecutors realized there had been no probable cause for his arrest or charges, according to the complaint.

The suit claims the officers lacked reasonable suspicion to detain or arrest Maser and that their conduct amounted to the use of excessive force, reaching the level of assault and battery, as well as false arrest and false imprisonment.

It further contends the charges filed against Maser constituted malicious prosecution due to the lack of probable cause.

Maser, who in the complaint claims he suffered from “a loss of liberty, public embarrassment and humiliation, mental anguish and emotional distress,” and was “caused to incur substantial attorneys’ fees and expenses” as a result of the incident, is asking for a declaration his constitutional rights were violated, as well as compensatory and punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.

He’s requesting a jury trial.

Police Chief Tom King on Saturday told The Centre Daily Times he could not comment in response to the allegations, “as the borough had not been served with the lawsuit.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…