Jury Awards Victim of Police Brutality $220,000.00

(Plaintiff verdict) $220,000.00

Lawrence Lynch v. David Bickel, et al. (No. 080101152)

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, PA

Attorney(s):

Jill J. Holden; James Jarrett & Schwartz, P.C.; Philadelphia, PA, for Lawrence Lynch

Jonathan J. James; James Jarrett & Schwartz, P.C.; Philadelphia, PA, for Lawrence Lynch

Michael C. Schwartz; James Jarrett & Schwartz, P.C.; Philadelphia, PA, for Lawrence Lynch

Facts:

On Jan. 17, 2006, plaintiff Lawrence Lynch, 31, was traveling southbound on North 6th Street, in Philadelphia, in an admittedly stolen sedan while Philadelphia Police Officers were pursuing in a high-speed chase. Lynch’s car struck another vehicle near 6th Street and Indiana Street and then exited the car and ran westbound toward Marshall Street. When Lynch got to the intersection of Marshall Street and Indiana Street, he was shot eight times by Philadelphia Police Officer David Bickel.

Lynch sued Bickel for assault and battery. Lynch also sued Philadelphia Police Officers, Detectives and Sergeants: Shawn Leahy; Stark; John Hoyt; Robert Brady; Colon; Harvey Bass; Norma Serrano; Sean Stewart; Jonathan Josey; Sonya Young; Officer Malen; James Lane; Detective Grace; L.T. Van and Stephen Gross, but those defendants were dismissed before trial.

Plaintiff’s counsel asserted that Lynch was a passenger in the stolen vehicle and that police opened fire on him when he was unarmed, had exited the vehicle and was turning to run away from the pursuing officers. Counsel contended that while two officers fired a total of 14 shots, only Officer Bickel’s bullets connected, leaving Lynch with eight bullet wounds on his left side.

Counsel for Bickel contended that Lynch was, in fact, driving the stolen vehicle and that, when Lynch got out of the car, he pointed a firearm at Officer Bickel, giving Bickel no recourse but to employ the use of his own firearm. Bickel and his partner testified that after Lynch was shot, the plaintiff fell on his gun, and the officers then immediately turned him over and kicked the gun away. Photographs from the crime scene were introduced, depicting the weapon.

Plaintiff’s counsel maintained that the photograph of the handgun, which was supposedly beneath Lynch’s body when police took him into custody, was corroborative of Lynch’s testimony that he had put his hands into the air upon being confronted by police, and that he did not have a firearm in his possession at that time. Counsel argued that the photograph showed that the gun was found in a pool of Lynch’s blood but did not have any blood on it, indicating that it had been placed in the pool of blood after the fact.

All 14 bullet cartridges in evidence at the crime scene were found to have been shot from Philadelphia Police firearms.

Injury:

Lynch went to the emergency room in an ambulance. He remained in the hospital for about four to six weeks, receiving treatment for bullet wounds to his left ankle, left arm, left thigh, lower back, stomach and buttocks. The gunshot wounds also resulted in Lynch suffering a fractured fibula and a fractured left radius. Plaintiff’s counsel also contended that Lynch suffered permanent nerve damage and atrophy in his left leg from the injuries. Counsel noted that Lynch continued to require the use of a wheelchair and still wore a brace at the time of trial. Counsel sought unspecified past and future pain and suffering damages and punitive damages.

The defendants did not dispute the extent of Lynch’s physical injuries.

Verdict Information:

The jury found Bickel was liable for assault and battery and awarded Lynch $220,000.

Lawrence Lynch:

$20,000 Personal Injury: Punitive Exemplary Damages

$200,000 Personal Injury: past and future pain and suffering

Link to Original Article:

http://www.verdictsearch.com/index.jsp?do=news&rep=recent&art=188202

 

 

Philadelphia man files assault and battery claim against city police captain and officer

A Philadelphia man who alleges that the attack on the part of a local police captain and another officer left him with numerous physical injuries is suing those who allegedly perpetrated the violence against him.

Philadelphia lawyers Michael C. Schwartz, Jonathan J. James and Jill J. Holden, of the firm James, Schwartz & Associates, P.C., filed the assault and battery claim Aug. 26 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Raheem Holman.

The defendants named in the lawsuit are police Cpt. Anthony Washington and Officer Shawn Hagan.

According to the complaint, Holman was leaving a local neighborhood corner store at close to 8 p.m. on March 2, 2010, walking down 21st Street toward his home with a friend of his, identified as Willie Hall, when he was suddenly intercepted by the two uniformed officers.

At first, Holman and Hall were asked to put their hands on the nearby police car so the officers could search them. But soon the encounter turned violent, when Holman questioned why the two were being detained, the lawsuit states.

Using profanity and racial slurs, the officers eventually became irate after Holman asked why he was being asked to drop to his knees at one point during the interaction.

“This apparently enraged Defendant Hagan, who immediately, and without legal cause or justification, swung his right arm around Plaintiff and punched him with a closed fist in the right side of the face, followed by another blow to Plaintiff’s face,” the suit states.

The complaint alleges that Washington, the police captain, then swung his expandable baton down on top of Holman’s head, causing the plaintiff’s head to split open and bleed profusely.

When Holman fell to the ground, he continued to be beaten with the baton about his legs, ankle and back, the suit states, all the while being handcuffed behind his back.

Two more officers allegedly joined in on the beating, the suit claims, and the violence subsided only when the plaintiff’s mother came around the corner and yelled, “Stop beating my son, stop beating my son,” the lawsuit states.

Holman was eventually transported to Methodist Hospital where he had to receive 11 staples to close the wound on his head. He also had to undergo other tests and treatment for contusions to his face, ankle and body, the suit claims.

Following his medical treatment, Holman was transported to the First Police District, where he was held for about two days without being informed of the criminal charges against him. He was eventually charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct, the lawsuit states.

Holman was also charged with disarming a law enforcement officer, according to the complaint.

Following a March 9, 2010 preliminary hearing, the charges of terroristic threats against Holman were dropped for lack of evidence, the suit states. The other charges proceeded.

But on Aug. 24 of this year, following a jury trial, despite the testimony of defendants Hagan and Washington, Holman was found not guilty of all charges.

Holman’s civil suit contains counts of assault and battery, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Holman seeks relief in the form of compensatory damages in excess of $50,000, unspecified punitive damages, attorney’s fees and other court costs.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The case number is 110803934.

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