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Philadelphia police officer sues City of Lancaster and 2 police officers for violating his civil rights in disorderly conduct case

Victims of a shooting at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic in November filed a lawsuit against the organization, alleging Planned Parenthood did not provide adequate security. (Thinkstock Photo)

LANCASTER — A Philadelphia police officer who was charged with disorderly conduct at an incident in Long’s Park last year is suing the city of Lancaster and two of its police officers for violating his civil rights, according to court records.

Sterling Staton Sr., of Levittown, says in the lawsuit that two Lancaster City police officers committed procedural process violations while issuing a summons to Staton, who was at a family event at the park. The suit also accuses them of malicious prosecution and abuse of process. The suit names Officer Todd Dickinson, who issued the citation. Another officer involved is identified as “John Doe.”

Staton is also suing the City of Lancaster for municipal liability, accusing the city of practicing policies that “were the moving force that resulted in (Staton’s) constitutional rights to be violated.”

The suit was filed on July 20 with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, court documents show.

While the suit does not list a specific amount for damages, it asks for compensatory damages, punitive damages, a written apology from each defendant, attorney’s fees and court costs.


The lawsuit states that the incident at Long’s Park occurred on May 29, 2016. Police responded to calls for an unrelated fight, the suit says. Staton was cited for disorderly conduct. Police charged him with inciting a large-scale fight, refusing to provide identification, and being moderately intoxicated.

Staton counters in the suit that video shot by a third party shows there was no fight when police arrived. The lawsuit alleges that Staton identified himself to Lancaster police as an off-duty Philadelphia police officer and provided ID.

A segment of the video was posted online shortly after the incident.

Staton was found guilty of disorderly conduct, but later appealed the ruling and was found not guilty, according to a LancasterOnline article about the lawsuit.

He was disciplined at work as a result of the false charge, according to the lawsuit.