FRANKLIN COUNTY MAN FILES COMPLAINT IN FEDERAL COURT ALLEGING STATE POLICE CORPORAL VIOLATED HIS CIVIL RIGHTS DURING AN UNPROVOKED ATTACK
Violent action caught on tape by in-car video camera shows brutal attack on handcuffed and seatbelted man
HARRISBURG (Sept. 27, 2012) – Christopher Broadwater of Franklin County, filed a Complaint in federal court today against Corporal Christian D. Fow, and Troopers Nathan R. Swink, Ralph A. Hockenberry, and David J. Rush, of the Chambersburg barracks of the Pennsylvania State Police. He also sued former retired State Police supervisor Clifford W. Jobe, Jr., and numerous John Doe State Police supervisors. Mr. Broadwater alleges numerous violations of his civil rights occurred on September 29, 2010, when Cpl. Fow attacked Mr. Broadwater – unprovoked – while he was handcuffed and restrained by a seat belt in the back of a state police car. Portions of that attack were caught on videotape, which is being made public today.
“This is a textbook example of a violation of a person’s civil rights,” said Devon M. Jacob, a national civil rights attorney representing Mr. Broadwater. “I am a former police officer and I have taken hundreds of people into custody. I know what constitutes a lawful use of force and what does not. However, you do not need to be a police officer to watch the videotape and to understand that what Corporal Fow did to Mr. Broadwater was a clear violation of his civil rights.”
According to the Complaint, Mr. Broadwater had been subdued by other troopers and had been placed in the rear seat of a state police patrol vehicle with his hands handcuffed behind his back and was further restrained by a seatbelt that had been fastened around him. Unbeknownst to Cpl. Fow, the in-car video camera had been activated and turned around to videotape whatever happened in the rear of the patrol vehicle.
According to the Complaint, one of the medical responders commented to Cpl. Fow about Mr. Broadwater’s movements in the vehicle. Cpl. Fow is then seen opening the rear door, and without provocation, pepper-spraying a defenseless Mr. Broadwater in the face.
“At that point, Mr. Broadwater moves so that his face is out of view of the camera, but you can plainly hear the sounds of someone being struck repeatedly,” said Jacob. “Mr. Broadwater’s face then comes back into view of the camera and it is clearly bloodied from the attack.”
The attack continued for almost two additional minutes outside of the patrol vehicle where Cpl. Fow repeatedly punched the handcuffed Mr. Broadwater in the face while holding him by the hair and while Trooper Swink held him down and Tasered him. Troopers Hockenberry and Rush watched the attack but failed to intervene to protect Mr. Broadwater. After the attack, Mr. Broadwater was transported to Chambersburg Hospital where he received numerous stitches to repair his facial injuries.