A Delaware County man says that members of his local police department dragged him
into a room without surveillance cameras and beat him repeatedly about the head and back after he went to the police station to retrieve a confiscated handgun, according to a federal suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Leroy Lewis, currently of Coatesville, Pa. but lived in Sharon Hill, Pa. at the time of the incident, names as defendants the township of Darby in Delaware County and five police officers. He seeks punitive and compensatory damages in excess of $100,000 for each of the three separate counts of violating his civil rights by use of excessive force. His wife, Keshata Lawson, also seeks $50,000 in damages for loss of consortium and companionship with her husband.
According to the suit, Lewis was sitting in his car near his home listening to music at midnight on Jan. 11, 2014, when the vehicle was surrounded by Darby police officers. The officers pulled Lewis from the car and handcuffed him, saying that there were shots fired in the neighborhood.
Lewis told the police that he was licensed to carry and had an unloaded gun in the car, the complaint says. When the officers could not find it, Lewis showed them where it was located. The complaint says that one officer laughed at him for keeping it unloaded, while another commented that he liked the gun.
The officers allowed Lewis to return to his home, but said they were keeping the gun until they finished canvassing the neighborhood, the suit says. The police never returned with the firearm, according to the complaint, prompting Lewis to take a trip to the police station the following Monday.
After showing the desk clerk his driver's license and license to carry, Lewis was informed that his gun was under investigation because officers believed it had been fired in the past, the suit says. When he demanded more information, another officer approached Lewis and told him to leave the station.
Lewis still refused to leave, the suit says, and was allegedly pushed into the police station's interior lobby, handcuffed and forced into a room that did not have surveillance cameras.
The complaint alleges that several police officers began to attack Lewis, beating him about the head and body before placing him into custody. The exact nature of his injuries is not detailed, only that Lewis suffered physically and mentally.
The plaintiff filed against the five officers for the alleged beating and blames Darby Township for being indifferent to law enforcement practices that violates the civil rights of regular citizens and allowing the use of excessive force.
Lewis is represented by Philadelphia law firm Jeffrey R. Lessin & Associates, P.C.
The federal case ID is 2:14-cv-04949-PD.