Phila. man files assault and battery claim against two city police officers

Jon Campisi Dec. 16, 2011, 9:06am

A Philadelphia man who claims two city police officers violently arrested him following a verbal altercation between the three exactly two years ago has filed an assault and battery claim against the officers in state court.

Attorney Alan E. Denenberg, of the Philadelphia firm Abramson & Denenberg, filed the civil action Dec. 12 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Andre Jerome Selby.

The two officers named as defendants in the lawsuit are Andre Howard and Nicholas Lewis.

The suit does not specify in what police district the two worked at the time.

According to the lawsuit, Selby was walking to a gas station back on Dec. 12, 2009, when he had a “purely verbal exchange with the defendant police officers.”

As a result of the verbal altercation, the police officers then exited their vehicle, and made comments to Selby “before violently seizing the plaintiff by the neck and slamming him into a pole, while intentionally, maliciously and/or recklessly using force that was not reasonable or necessary under the circumstances,” the suit states.

After placing Selby in handcuffs, the officers then told the plaintiff he should not be “mouthing off” to law enforcement before repeatedly striking Selby in the head, face and body, the lawsuit claims.

“The plaintiff was not resisting arrest, fleeing or causing any disturbance when he was assaulted and battered and subjected to excessive force by the defendants,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit goes on to claim that the officers then placed Selby into the back of their police vehicle and held him there against his will for about a half-hour, all the while refusing to allow Selby to receive medical attention.

The officers eventually released Selby without charge or citation.

Selby himself attempted to call for an ambulance, the suit claims, but the officers threatened to charge him with filing a false police report if he did so.

As a result of the altercation, Selby suffered injuries including a fractured nasal bone, lacerations and contusions to his face, spinal sprain and strain, shoulder injuries, abdominal contusions, post-traumatic stress reaction and other ills and injuries, the lawsuit claims.

Selby also suffered “agonizing aches and severe physical pains, disability and disfigurement, mental anguish and humiliation, and he will continue to suffer same for an indefinite time in the future, to his great detriment and loss,” the suit states.

Selby ended up receiving treatment for his injuries at Lankenau Hospital and Sansom Medical & Rehab, which caused him to shuck out $15,965 in medical bills, the suit claims.

The lawsuit contains assault and battery claims, as well as false arrest and false imprisonment claims.

For each claim, Selby seeks compensatory and punitive damages in a sum not to exceed $50,000.

The case number is 111201167.

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