Three Springettsbury Township Police Department Officers are being sued by two people claiming the officers used excessive force against them in two separate incidents. Patrolman Chad Moyer is a defendant in both cases, which occurred 16 months apart. The other officers named in the suits are Patrolman Gregory Hadfield and Patrolman William Polizzotto. According to a press release from the plaintiffs’ attorney, Devon Jacob, portions of both incidents were caught on videotape which is being released today.
The first lawsuit stems from an incident that occurred on April 2nd, 2011. Police were called to a domestic dispute. According to the Complaint, arriving officers found Debra Williams being restrained by a male on the floor of a residence in the township. Williams claims Moyer punched and slapped her as she sat handcuffed in a patrol vehicle. Hadfield is accused of grabbing Williams by the neck and slapping and punching her as well. According to a press release from Devon Jacob, this can all be seen on the video. Hadfield also admitted to tasering Williams while she was handcuffed prior to being placed in the car. Jacob says that the officers should have been able to tell that Williams was emotionally ill, as she was visibly distraught and stated that she wanted to kill herself.
The second lawsuit stems from the arrest of Steven Landis on August 5th, 2012. According to the Complaint filed by Landis, Moyer spotted him walking in the area of Eden Road and Sand Bank Roads around 11:22pm. Moyer ran a check on Landis and discovered he had a misdemeanor warrant for his arrest for a domestic dispute from earlier that night. Landis was not aware of the warrant at the time. During the arrest, which the attorney claims is caught on dashboard camera video, Moyer is seen violently throwing Landis to the ground. Moyer can be heard making explicit threats. He kneed Landis in the ribcage, breaking five ribs. Polizzotto held Landis down and tasered him, according to the release.
“There is a serious problem with this police department,” said Devon Jacob. “As a former police officer, I know what constitutes a lawful use of force. However, you do not need to be a police officer to watch these videotapes and understand that the police officers’ conduct is both criminal and a clear violation of Ms. Williams’ and Mr. Landis’ civil rights.”
Springettsbury Township Police Chief Thomas Hyers issued the following statement this afternoon:
“At this point I have not received or been officially notified of any civil actions being taken against any member of the Springettsbury Township Police Department. As is our departmental policy, we will not comment on any active investigation or pending lawsuit until the matter is fully investigated or resolved.”
The township is also being named in both lawsuits.
“The township had an obligation it’s very clear here. If you have three police officers who feel comfortable using this level of force, approving the complaints, you have supervisors who received notice of the beating,” said attorney Devon Jacob.
“Any allegations of officer misconduct will be looked at by an independent agency, either by State Police or the District Attorney,” said Springettsbury Township Manager John Holman.
To read both Complaints in their entirety, click here: www.linkedin.com/in/devonjacob