Lawsuit alleging excessive use of force by two Lancaster City officers filed in district court

lancaster police

Lancaster City Police

LANCASTER — A lawsuit alleging excessive use of force by two Lancaster City police officers was filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on January 3.

The lawsuit stems from an incident that occurred on February 25 in the area of Gas Mart located on Columbia Avenue.

On the above date, officers Jacob Bingham and Timothy Sinnott asked Damin Burnside to move his car as he exited the convenience store, in which he complied. The officers then allegedly shined flashlights and banged on Burnside’s vehicle, claiming that they smelled marijuana.

Burnside denied having marijuana inside the car and handed the officers his license, registration and insurance card. The officers asked the man to step out of his vehicle and Burnside asked why. After the officers refused to answer, Burnside stepped out the vehicle. That’s when Officer Sinnott allegedly grabbed Burnside, put him in a “full-nelson,” and threw him to the concrete between two gas pumps. As a result, Burnside’s shoulder popped and various tendons tore.

The officers then cuffed Burnside — who was complaining about his injuries — and charged him with possession of marijuana. The lawsuit alleges that no marijuana was present on Burnside or inside the vehicle.

A passenger inside the vehicle was recording the incident, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that the officers forced the individual to turn off the recording device during the encounter. Their alleged explanation for the individual was that their “body-cams” and “dash-cams” would capture the incident. The lawsuit notes that during the discovery portion of the matter, the officers allegedly claimed no body-cam or dash-cam footage existed and/or refused to provide copies of whatever was captured to the plaintiff.

Burnside is seeking “in excess of $150,000” in damages to compensate for his injuries. He is represented by Brian Zeiger in Philadelphia.