Philly man who alleged police officers assaulted him while in custody settles case

By Nicholas Malfitano | May 8, 2019


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PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia man's lawsuit that claimed two Philadelphia police officers battered him after he had a dispute with a gas station cashier over possession of a pack of cigarettes he purchased has been settled.

On March 6, counsel for plaintiff Shayne Holland submitted a praecipe asking that his lawsuit against Police Officers Brion Milligan and John Doe be marked “settled, discontinued and ended.” Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Holland filed suit June 5 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.

The suit said that on Dec. 14, 2017, Holland was lawfully present at or near a Shell gas station at or near the intersection of Bustleton Avenue and Tomlinson Road when a misunderstanding took place between him and the gas station’s cashier reparding the cigatettes. Holland claimed he purchased several items, including a pack of cigarettes, which he said he did not receive after paying for them.

The argument ensued and police were summoned to the scene, court filings said.  Holland claimed the officers “willfully and maliciously” assaulted and forcibly removed him from the premises (an incident allegedly captured on video).

“The defendant placed plaintiff in a police wagon in handcuffs and did not properly restrain him," the suit said. "The defendants then began punching plaintiff in the rear of the wagon, intentionally outside the view of the camera.”

“The defendants intentionally broke plaintiff’s cellphone and took $300 in cash from him without giving him a property receipt and never returned the money," the suit claimed. "The defendants then drove recklessly while plaintiff was in the rear of the police wagon, handcuffed and unrestrained. This practice is commonly referred to as a ‘nickel ride.’ Plaintiff was severely injured as a result of the defendants’ actions inside the Shell gas station and in the police wagon.”

Through an answer to the complaint along with new matter filed on June 26 by defendant Milligan’s counsel, Holland’s complaint was said to have failed to state a cause for action for assault and battery, was barred by the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act and its qualified immunity, along with the applicable statute of limitations, and further barred by law enforcement privilege under 18 Pa.C.S. Section 508.

It was then settled in March.

For a lone count of assault and battery, the plaintiff was seeking damages in excess of $50,000, plus costs, delay damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, costs and such other and further relief as appears reasonable and just, in addition to a trial by jury in this matter.

The plaintiff was represented by Brian J. Zeiger of Levin & Zeiger, in Philadelphia.

The defendants were represented by Andrew Pomager of the City of Philadelphia Law Department, also in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180600207

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nick.malfitano@therecordinc.com

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