Chester police officers sued for use of excessive force

By Jim Boyle | May 14, 2014

A Pennsylvania man says that Chester Township police officers violated his civil rights.

According to a complaint filed at the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, John Carpenter, of Aston, Pa., did not resist arrest when two officers beat him with their batons and maced him during a traffic stop in May 2012.

Carpenter says that on May 15, 2012, at approximately 11 p.m. he asked a friend to give him a ride to Crozer-Chester Medical Center after feeling an anxiety attack coming on. As she began to turn her jeep around in the driveway, two police officers drove up and ordered her to stop the car.

When Carpenter got out of the car at the officers' request, they pointed their tasers at him and directed him to get down on the ground. As he knelt, the complaint says, Carpenter's mother came out of the house to talk to the officers. They also pointed their tasers at her, the complaint says, and threatened to use the devices if she took another step.

The court documents say that the officers violently pushed Carpenter to his stomach and knelt on his back and neck. They ordered him to place his hands behind his back, the complaint says, but began beating him before Carpenter could comply. Carpenter was struck with batons, kicked, had his face smashed to the ground and glasses broken, and maced before the officers stopped and took him to the hospital.

Carpenter is suing the officers involved with the incident, as well as Chester Township officials for being deliberately indifferent to the police department's use of excessive force and not monitoring officers who suffer from emotional or psychological problems.

Carpenter is represented by Philadelphia-based attorney Patrick Geckle.

The federal case ID number is 2:14-cv-02731-TJS.

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