YORK COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT FACES TWO CIVIL RIGHTS LAWSUITS OVER SEPARATE INCIDENTS ‘CAUGHT ON TAPE’ SHOWING POLICE OFFICERS USING EXCESSIVE FORCE
In-car police video camera shows violent attacks against a mentally ill handcuffed
woman and a mentally ill man; incidents happened within 16 months of each other
HARRISBURG (March 13, 2013) – Two Pennsylvania residents today filed separate civil rights Complaints in federal court against the same police officer, Patrolman Chad Moyer of the Springettsbury Township Police Department. Debra Williams and Steven Landis both were victims of excessive force by Patrolman Moyer in incidents that took place 16 months apart. Patrolman Gregory T. Hadfield participated with Patrolman Moyer in the assault on Ms. Williams, and is a Defendant in her case. Patrolman William Polizzotto, Jr., a K9 officer, participated with Patrolman Moyer in the assault against Mr. Landis, and is a Defendant in his case. Portions of both attacks were caught on videotape, which are being made public today.
“When a police dog follows the law and standard police procedure but police officers do not, there is a serious problem with the police department - one that is placing the public in extreme danger,” said Devon M. Jacob, a national civil rights attorney with Jacob Litigation, who is representing Ms. Williams and Mr. Landis. “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 understand that the police officers’ conduct is both criminal and a clear violation of Ms. Williams’ and Mr. Landis’ civil rights.”
On April 2, 2011, Patrolman Moyer can clearly be seen entering the rear passenger side of a patrol vehicle and punching and slapping Ms. Williams as she sits both handcuffed and shackled. Patrolman Hadfield can also be seen entering the rear driver’s side of a patrol vehicle and grabbing Ms. Williams by the neck and punching and slapping her. Patrolman Hadfield admits in a police report that he also Tasered Ms. Williams while she was handcuffed before she was placed in the vehicle.
On August 5, 2012, Patrolman Moyer was again caught on video violently throwing Mr. Landis to the ground during an arrest. Patrolman Moyer can then be heard telling Mr. Landis, “You are going to get f**ked up.” Patrolman Moyer can then be seen kneeing Mr. Landis in the ribcage, breaking five of Mr. Landis’ ribs, while Patrolman Polizzotto is holding Mr. Landis down and Tasering Mr. Landis.
According to the Complaint filed by Ms. Williams, Springettsbury Township police were notified of a domestic dispute in the township. When they arrived, they found Ms. Williams visibly distraught and being restrained on the floor by a male. It should have been clear to Patrolman Moyer and Patrolman Hadfield that Ms. Williams was emotionally ill, as she stated that she wanted to kill herself.
According to the Complaint filed by Mr. Landis, Patrolman Moyer observed Mr. Landis walking in the area of Eden and Sand Bank Roads at 11:22 p.m. After running a warrant check, Patrolman Moyer learned that Mr. Landis had a misdemeanor warrant for his arrest related to a domestic dispute that had occurred earlier that evening; a warrant that Mr. Landis was not aware of at that time. Patrolman Moyer’s dashboard camera shows the excessive force used to place Mr. Landis into custody.
“These officers behaved like criminals. If the Township does not remove them from the street and criminally prosecute them, the Township is complicit in their conduct,” said Jacob.