Pennsylvania Record

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Shoplifter shocked by Taser gun sues police officers

By Jon Campisi | Oct 13, 2011

A Philadelphia woman who claims she sustained injuries after being tasered by police officers and security personnel after she was caught shoplifting from a store has filed a lawsuit against the police officers involved in the incident and the outlet mall where the alleged incident took place.

Attorney James E. Hockenberry, of the Feasterville, Pa. law firm of Rovner, Allen, Rovner, Zimmerman and Mash, filed the federal complaint Oct. 12 against the Philadelphia Premium Outlet Mall in Limerick, Pa., and Limerick Township.

The suit also names as defendants the police officers and security personnel involved in the plaintiff’s arrest, the owners of the retail center and others.

The plaintiff in the case, Philadelphia resident Charveina Vanel Parker, claims that police unnecessarily shocked her with a Taser gun numerous times after she was caught shoplifting at one of the stores at the outlet complex on Oct. 12, 2009.

After being physically apprehended by a handful of Limerick police officers and mall security officers, Parker, who weighs about 130 pounds, alleges that she was shocked with a Taser three times and then punched in the chest.

Parker was then rolled over onto her stomach by the officers, at which time her shirt was lifted up and she was shocked again, this time directly onto her bare skin, the lawsuit claims.

In all, the suit says, Parker was shocked with the Taser gun six times.

“At no time during said individual defendants’ restrain of Plaintiff did she pose a threat to said defendants, nor was she carrying any sort of weapon,” the suit states.

Parker also did not attempt to resist or evade arrest, and, in fact, she would have been temporarily paralyzed after just one Taser shock, and therefore would have been physically unable to resist or evade arrest, the lawsuit claims.

Parker was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, resisting arrest and retail theft. She pleaded guilty to theft, the suit states, but the other charges against here were dismissed.

After she was released from custody days after the incident, Parker sought medical treatment, at which time a physical exam showed she had “multiple erethematous marks on back and side,” the suit claims. She had scabbing on her back as well.

The lawsuit alleges civil rights violations, as well as assault and battery claims, intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligence.

Through her lawsuit, Parker seeks unspecified compensatory damages plus interest, punitive and delay damages, attorney’s fees and other relief.

Aside from the outlet mall and the township, the lawsuit names as defendants Simon Property Group, Inc., Simon Property Management, Chelsea Limerick Holdings, LLC, Chelsea Property Group, Inc., security guard Greg Wilson, Limerick Police Cpl. Fitz Duffy, Limerick Police Officer Pat Roach, Limerick Police Sgt. Marchese, (no first name given), and John Does 1-20.

A jury trial has not been sought.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-06378-SD.

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