City lawyers seek to transfer police brutality suit to federal court

By Jon Campisi | Apr 5, 2012

Lawyers for the City of Philadelphia are requesting that a police brutality lawsuit filed by a local woman against a city police officer be transferred from state to federal court because the complaint involves allegations of civil rights violations.

Philadelphia resident Rosetta Alcorn filed suit against the city and a police officer identified only by his last name, Caputo, back in mid-March.

The suit, which was filed at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by attorney Stuart A. Carpey, claims that Alcorn was assaulted by Caputo on June 30, 2010 after the officer arrived outside of her home to arrest her son, Robert Adams, who was charged with drinking an open container of alcohol in public and for disorderly conduct.

According to the complaint, after arresting Alcorn’s son, Caputo and another officer, whose identity is unknown at this time, entered the woman’s home and began to beat on Alcorn.

The suit claims that Caputo, without provocation, used his police baton to beat Alcorn on her left arm, causing severe injuries and requiring her to seek medical care and treatment.

The lawsuit alleges that Alcorn did nothing to warrant the rough treatment, and that she never broke any laws that would have caused the officers to enter her home without a warrant.

The lawsuit blames the City of Philadelphia for not doing anything to stop the pattern and custom of the police department to subject citizens to “unreasonable force and duress, in the absence of probable cause.”

Alcorn suffered both physical and psychological injuries as a result of the attack, the complaint alleges, and she has also suffered financial losses as a result of having to pay for medical care relating to her treatment.

Alcorn seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees, past and future wage losses, damages for pain and suffering and other court relief.

In his Notice of Removal, Assistant City Solicitor Christopher H. Rider wrote that venue is proper at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania since the lawsuit also contains counts of federal civil rights violations.

Alcorn is seeking a jury trial.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-01574-SD. 

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