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Chief, township manager respond to brutality allegations

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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.”

Response:

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

12 comments

  • tim

    why are these officers under the gun ??? .. some one refuses arrest what are they supposed to do . say ok and let you go ? you can see the officer slap her but you also hear him groan when he gets kicked in the groin prior. if you assault a police officer you become a criminal not the other way around .

    • Jason P.

      Punching someone in the face, multiple times, while the person is handcuffed, in the back of a patrol car, is excessive force. Breaking 5 ribs, by kneeing someone in the chest, who is already on the ground is in no way appropriate.

    • anonymous

      Your point is taken however watch the other video of the man that is 80 percent def who cannt hear. When one officer has a multitude of using extreme force cases pending it is probably because he is.

  • Insider

    Shame on you Springettsbury police Dept.!!!!!! This one officer has brought dishonor and disrespect to your entire police dept. and all the other legit officers in that dept.!!! Apparently this officer has serious issues due to multible complaints and thinks he is above the law hiding behind his badge!!! Hope this guy wins a nice settlement and the officer loses his badge forever!!!! Unfortunitly all this at the tax payers expense!! Way to go Springetts jerks, more so at Moyer you loser!!!!!!

    • Sydney

      Yes and a bad one there too! Couldn't kick the kids so decided to be a Police Officer. Sounds like the West York Police idiots who get away with murder under Seibel. And shame on the DA's office for not doing anything about credible complaints. It's hard to believe in this day and age that this kind of stuff happens. No pity part for any of these pieces of crap. Musselman and Kahley in West York give the whole police dept a bad name.

      • frank

        Look at the history. Has the DA's office ever called any cop accused of brutality/impropriety/unjust use of lethal force/etc onto the carpet? Granted, policing can be a dirty/dangerous job, and there are some bad scum out there that need policed…BUT, the green light/free pass to any & all brutality against any & all suspects who happen to try the patience (however so slightly) of a cop who's having a bad night (or worse yet, is a true sociopath with a chronic history of complaints against him) is exactly wht establishes the 'corporate culture' that heavy handedness is fine under the slightest of circumstances.

        Anyone remember the name Yvonne Gouseff?

  • Anonymous

    i think that second video with the woman being punched may be a little excesive. but that first one i dont see anything wrong with the way they handled it. its funny to me how when someone gets layed out on the ground because they are resisting or turning away from an officer that its wrong and police brutality, they need to use force because you don't know if that man has a gun or weapon, remember these officer that are protecting your streets have families too, they want to make it home safe. being a police officer is not an easy job, the funny thing is these people fight the police and the law and test their rights to there limits, yet when they have an emergency cops are their best friends. maybe these officers are in the wrong and i am in no way defending them, i think we just have to consider all the b.s. they go through on a daily basis. especially since springettsbury is one of the busier dept. in York county. Just my opinion.

  • FYI

    FYI: The 30 or so comments posted to the original Debra Williams story/video (most of which openly condemned the brutality of the officers) from yesterday have all been erased. Seems that Fox 43 will censor on behalf of police accused of brutality to handcuffed suspects…FYI

    • Matt at FOX43

      Since you have no email address tied to your posts, you will probably never see this: The original comments automatically remove because they all were in a reply type to a graphic and possibly criminal comment that was reported to police.

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