Police beating victim who sustained fractured ankle sues city and cops

By Jon Campisi | Oct 26, 2011

A Philadelphia man who claims he sustained a fractured ankle and lacerations following an assault perpetrated by city cops has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Philadelphia and the officers involved in the alleged attack.

Philadelphia attorney Leonard K. Hill filed the civil action Oct. 24 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Demetrius Peredo.

Aside from the city, the codefendants named in the lawsuit are the unnamed captain and an unnamed sergeant with the Philadelphia Police Department’s 15th District, as well as 15th District Officer Robert Bakos and five John Doe officers from the precinct.

According to the complaint, Peredo was pulled over by police while driving his car in the area of Leiper and Foulkrod streets  on Oct. 19, 2009, after which he was yanked from the vehicle by defendant Bakos, who threw the him to the ground and began beating him.

The alleged beating included the use of a police baton as well as hands and feet, the suit states. Peredo also was allegedly kicked in the face, legs and abdomen.

“The attack occurred while Plaintiff was in a non-threatening and defenseless physical position, unarmed, and completely unable to pose any threat to others or defend himself,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit faults the additional defendants for doing nothing to stop the alleged assault on the part of Officer Bakos.

Peredo was found to be in possession of a controlled substance, for which he was subsequently charged criminally, but the charges were later withdrawn, the suit states.

Following the police assault, Peredo was taken to an area hospital where he was treated for his physical injuries, which included a fractured ankle and numerous lacerations.

“Defendants’ actions, and their motivation for their actions, were conscience shocking, without conscious regard or due care for Plaintiff or the foreseeable consequences of their actions, and with such wanton and reckless disregard of the consequences as to show Defendants’ deliberate indifference to the danger of harm and injury,” the lawsuit states.

“As a direct and proximate cause of Defendants’ actions and inactions, Plaintiff suffered and continues to suffer deprivation of his rights, fear, horror, loss of liberty, grievous physical injuries, and the loss of the enjoyment of life, all to [his] great detriment and loss.”

The lawsuit claims that Peredo has undergone great physical pain, and “horrible mental anguish,” requiring medical and psychiatric treatment, and that he has suffered a loss of earning power due to the incident.

The lawsuit claims that the defendants violated Peredo’s constitutional rights, including the freedom to assemble, his right to substantive due process, liberty, personal security, his right to be free from unreasonable seizures, and his right to be free from the use of excessive, unreasonable and unjustified force.

The complaint alleges that the violations on the part of police personnel were the result of the city’s policies, procedures, customs and practices of allowing its officers to use unreasonable and excessive force, thereby violating the rights of those with whom they come into contact.

“The City has maintained an inadequate system of review of instances of misconduct, abuse of police powers or violation of citizens’ rights by police officers, which system has failed to identify instances of abuse of police powers or violations of citizens’ rights by police officers, or to discipline, more closely supervise or retrain officers who abuse their police powers or violate citizens rights,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit alleges First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment violations. There are also assault and battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of severe emotional distress claims.

Peredo seeks declaratory judgment, as well as compensatory damages in excess of $150,000, unspecified punitive damages, prejudgment interest, attorney’s fees, and other legal and equitable relief.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-06640-JD.

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