Alleged police brutality subject of federal civil rights lawsuit

By Jon Campisi | Aug 2, 2011

A Philadelphia man who alleges he sustained serious bodily injuries after an unprovoked attack by a group of city police officers is suing those he claims caused his injuries.

Philadelphia attorney Holly C. Dobrosky, of the Law Offices of Guy R. Sciolla, filed the federal civil rights complaint July 29 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Kenya Pruitt.

The defendants named in the lawsuit are Philadelphia police officers Robert W. Lutz, Michael Ward, and an officer who is only listed by last name, Cirellie, as well as a group of cops named only as John Doe Police Officers 1-5.

Also named as defendants are Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey and the City of Philadelphia.

According to the complaint, Pruitt was “unlawfully detained” by the group of officers in the 1900 block of Cambridge Street in Philadelphia on Feb. 12, 2009.

The officers charged Pruitt with possession with intent to deliver, knowing and intentional possession of a controlled substance, aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, obstructing the administration of justice, tampering with evidence and resisting arrest.

“The aforesaid charges were based upon the filing of a fraudulent police report by defendants,” the lawsuit claims.

Meanwhile, however, Pruitt had been transported back to the 23rd Police District after his arrest, where he was allegedly “assaulted, battered, beat, drug, kicked, punched, stomped, struck, terrorized, threatened and otherwise viciously attacked,” the lawsuit claims.

As a result of the alleged attack, Pruitt sustained abrasions and contusions all over his body; pain in his right shoulder, sternum, arms and knees; dizziness; headache; decreased flexibility, mobility and range of motion; as well as pain and suffering.

After the beating, Pruitt was transported by the officers to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he was treated and released.

The complaint alleges that Pruitt has had to spend large sums of money on medical treatment, and that he suffered mental anguish, physical pain, depression, nervousness, humiliation, personality changes and a loss of life’s pleasures as a result of the attack at the hands of the officers.

The lawsuit contains counts of civil rights violations, assault and battery, negligence and gross negligence, malicious prosecution and malicious abuse of process of law, false arrest and false imprisonment, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

For each count listed, Pruitt demands judgment against the defendants, jointly and severally, in an amount in excess of $150,000, plus interest, attorney’s fees and other court costs.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-04821-RK.

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