Sunday, December 18, 2011

Police Brutality Settlement: $200,000

Three years ago we told you about the day Stephen Pyles woke up to find his home, located in the Baltimore suburbs, ransacked and money and credit cards missing. It was also the day police arrested him for trying to explain to officers his frustration at the constant burglaries. Pyles called officers to report the crime through his TTY telephone. While getting a report of the crime, Officer Louis Facciponti claims the deaf man in his 50s punched him “suddenly and without warning." But a paramedic who saw the whole thing says Pyles was only trying to get the officer's attention by putting a note to the officer’s chest that explained his frustration at feeling that his home was unsafe. He was upset that police had done nothing to stop people from repeatedly breaking into his home while he and his family sleep. Pyles was wrestled to the ground and Facciponti refused his family's request that he be handcuffed in front, so he could sign or write notes. Pyles wound up in the hospital after the confrontation because he had just undergone neck surgery and was re-injured during the scuffle. But the officer refused to let paramedics check put Pyles before hauling him off in the police car. Pyles was charged with second-degree assault and resisting arrest. Prosecutors dropped all the charges because the only non family witness confirmed the deaf man’s story and not the officer’s version of what happened. Last year, the Pasadena, Maryland man filed a lawsuit against Arundel County for false arrest. Now, the county has paid Pyle $200,000 to settle the suit. There was no apology offered and the officers involved are still on the police force. The head of the police union representing the officers says it was a frivolous lawsuit and the county would have won the case if it had gone to trial.