Springettsbury Township Police Chief Thomas Hyers has seen the police dash-cam videos in question. “I think they speak for themselves, and now the matter is under investigation,” said Chief Hyers.
Hyers held a press conference Tuesday morning to be open about how his department is handling the allegations. “I’ve taken several key steps to ensure we keep the public’s confidence,” Hyers said.
“I’ve been asked if I regret the camera being in the car, absolutely not. The cameras serve their purpose that they are meant to do. Other agencies choose not to use them, we choose to be open and transparent with everyone,” Hyers said. “The fact that we’re open and being very diligent in this investigation builds the public confidence. They can say we actually have a police department that is open and transparent and being right out there with us. That’s what the people demand. That’s what they expect, and that’s what we will give the people of Springettsbury and York County.”
He has asked District Attorney Tom Kearney and State Police to do an independent investigation. He has placed the three officers involved in the arrests, Patrolman Chad Moyer and Patrolman William Polizzotto Jr. and Cpl. Gregory Hadfield on administrative desk duty until the investigation is complete.
Attorney Devon Jacob, of Boyle Litigation, filed the federal civil rights lawsuits last week for Debra Williams and Steven Landis. He feels the investigation needs to be fair. “The problem is that the District Attorney’s office has already chosen a side of the case. In that regard they are already prosecuting or have attempted to prosecute Mr. Landis and Ms. Williams. The fact remains, common sense dictates that you can’t be on both sides of the case,” said Jacob. “They should have been taken seriously the moment this happened. The only reason anything is being done now is because there is civil litigation and granted that is part of the purpose of civil litigation.”
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 Patrolman Chad Moyer punched and slapped her as she sat handcuffed in a patrol vehicle. Cpl. Gregory 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 tasing 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. Patrolman Chad 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. Patrolman William Polizzotto Jr. held Landis down and tasered him, according to the release. Both Williams and Landis were charged with resisting arrest for the incidents. William’s charges were dropped.