Suit: Excessive force by university police caused motorcyclist's broken leg

By Jim Boyle | Aug 4, 2014

A Philadelphia man says that members of the University of Pennsylvania's private police

department wrongfully forced him off a moving motorcycle, causing him to fall and break his leg, according to a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Brandon Bynum, of the 2700 block of Winton St., seeks damages from the university's board of trustees, the police department and the officers involved based on six separate counts, including violating his civil rights, excessive use of force, unlawful seizure, and unlawful arrest and imprisonment.

According to the suit, on Aug. 14, 2012, Bynum was riding as a passenger on a motorcycle on Market Street. The complaint says that when the bike approached the 3800 block of Market, officers from the University of Pennsylvania began to strike Bynum with their batons and used their vehicle as a weapon to hit the motorcycle. At no point during the altercation, the court documents say, did the officers turn on the emergency warning lights.

The complaint says that Bynum jumped from the motorcycle and hit the ground hard enough to break his left leg. The suit accuses the officers of leaning on the left leg while cuffing Bynum, causing more pain to the obviously injured plaintiff.

Bynum was forced to stand by the officers and told to walk to the paddy wagon, the claim says. When he told the officers he could not walk, Bynum was dragged to the waiting vehicle, the complaint says.

The claim alleges that the officers purposefully did not secure Bynum in the back of the paddy wagon and proceeded to give him a "nickel ride" to the University of Pennsylvania. During the transport, the driver deliberately operated the vehicle in a way that would toss Bynum about the back as a way to cause more pain and suffering, the complaint says.

Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital told Bynum that he had fractured his left tibia, treatment for which required the insertion of metal pins and screws. As a result, Bynum's movements and functions have become limited. According to the complaint, no charges have been filed against the plaintiff.

Bynum has also filed for damages against the University of Pennsylvania's board of trustees for Monell claims, which holds governing bodies responsible for the actions of employees that fall under their duties. The claim alleges that the board is deliberately indifferent to the police officers' abuse of power and use of excessive force.

The plaintiff is represented by Philadelphia attorneys Kenneth Chotiner of the Chotiner Firm and Steven Schatz of Master Weinstein Schatz Moyer, P.C.

The federal case ID number is 2:14-cv-04548-SD.

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