Pa. man sues Upland Borough, police chief, detective for unlawful arrest

By Jon Campisi | Mar 6, 2013

A Delaware County man is suing Upland Borough, its police chief and a detective over

claims that he was arrested without cause and falsely accused of possessing a stolen firearm, a charge that was later dismissed in criminal court.

Brishodd Miller, of Brookhaven, Pa., alleges in his civil action that the borough, Police Chief John R. Easton and Upland Detective Michael Curran violated his civil rights when he was arrested without cause for supposedly possessing a stolen gun, despite the fact that the plaintiff had paperwork showing he legally owned and could carry the gun in public.

The complaint, which was filed in federal court in Philadelphia on March 1 by Philadelphia attorney Alan E. Denenberg, of the firm Abramson & Denenberg, says that Miller voluntarily went to the Upland Borough police station on Jan. 25, 2010, where he was informed by defendant Curran that he was being investigated for suspicion of possessing a stolen handgun.

Despite the fact that the plaintiff told Curran the handgun was not stolen, and that Miller had no criminal record that would have legally barred him from possessing a firearm, Curran eventually filed a criminal complaint against the plaintiff charging him with a variety of felony offenses, including receiving stolen property, criminal conspiracy and person not to possess a firearm, the lawsuit states.

Curran conducted no investigation into the status of Miller before filing the criminal complaint, the lawsuit alleges, an investigation that would have shown Miller was indeed eligible to own a gun.

“The defendant, Detective Curran, obtained a warrant for plaintiff’s arrest solely on the basis of fabricated information without conducting any prior investigation,” the complaint reads.

Miller was arrested on Feb. 4, 2010, the record shows, and upon taking the plaintiff into custody, Curran seized Miller’s handgun as well as his License to Carry Firearms.

As a result of his unlawful arrest, the lawsuit claims, Miller was deprived of his liberty and forced to undergo a criminal prosecution without probable cause, and he had to shuck out about $2,500 in legal fees to fight the charges, which were eventually dismissed during a preliminary hearing on March 2, 2011.

Following the dismissal of the charges, Miller petitioned the police department to return his property, which included his firearm and carry license, although he has yet to receive the items back to this day, the complaint states.

Miller called the defendants on numerous occasions, spoke to police officials in person, and even sent a certified letter to the department requesting the return of his property but to no avail.

The lawsuit contains counts of malicious prosecution and deprivation of property interest without due process, as well as a Monell claim and Second Amendment violations.

Miller seeks unspecified compensatory damages, interest, costs, attorney’s fees and delay damages.


The federal case number is 2:13-cv-01117-AB. 

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