Skateboarder sues two Pennsylvania state troopers, alleging aggression, wrongful arrest

By Carol Ostrow | Sep 3, 2015

A Harrisburg man is suing two Pennsylvania state police officers, alleging excessive use of force, false arrest, malicious prosecution, and conspiracy in a violent confrontation.

Christopher P. Siennick of Harrisburg filed a lawsuit Aug. 26 against Pennsylvania state troopers Michael Trotta and Ryan Luckenbaugh of Troop H in Harrisburg in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, alleging violation of his civil and constitutional rights in his May detainment.

According to the grievance, on May 16, Siennick was lawfully returning home from work on his skateboard when the officers verbally accosted him near the intersection of Second and Locust streets in Harrisburg, “yelling at him to ‘get off the street, faggot.’”

The suit says Siennick continued on without engaging with the officers but they circled the block in their cruiser and began to pursue him on foot. The lawsuit states he had committed no crime and ran from them out of fear, yet the officers struck and Tasered the plaintiff, dragged him to the sidewalk and handcuffed him without reasonable cause.

The suit says the plaintiff did not resist or assault the officers but one officer sprayed him with pepper spray, temporarily blinding him, kicked him in the head and face, and charged him with multiple misdemeanors and felonies.

Siennick alleges the officers falsified statements in order to justify his arrest. Because he could not post the $250,000 bail, he was incarcerated for three weeks at Dauphin County Prison, the suit says, until the county district attorney investigated, dropped all charges against Siennick based on surveillance camera video footage, and requested further investigation.

The plaintiff alleges severe distress, eye irritation, physical injuries requiring medical treatment and financial losses.

Siennick seeks compensatory and punitive damages, interest, attorney fees, and court costs. He is represented by attorneys Gerald Williams, Beth Cole, Michael Quirk and Christopher Markos of Williams Cuker Berezofsky in Philadelphia.

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania 1:15-cv-01658-YK.

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