BOSTON — Opening statements were held Tuesday in U.S. District Court here in a lawsuit alleging police brutality filed against three Springfield police officers and the city of Springfield.
Lee Hutchins of Springfield sued officers Daniel J. McKay, Felix Romero and Thomas Hervieux, alleging the three used excessive force against him on Jan. 20, 2013.
Hutchins claimed police pepper-sprayed his eyes and beat him with batons while he was trying to defuse a domestic melee.
The disturbance involved Hutchins’ two adult sons, Lee Jr. and Keith Hutchins, who were living at his home, according to the complaint. Just after midnight, the mother of Lee Hutchins Jr.’s 2-year-old arrived at the house, demanding to take the child back, the court record states.
“During the ensuing altercation, Hutchins attempted to assist the police in taking his two sons in custody in the hopes this would de-escalate the situation,” the complaint said.
McKay pepper-sprayed Hutchins in the face, according to the complaint. The use of pepper spray on Hutchins was “unjustified” and caused him pain and temporary blindness, said his lawyer, Luke Ryan.
The complaint added that Hervieux unnecessarily thumped Hutchins with a police baton.
“Despite the fact that plaintiff was suffering the effects of the pepper spray and posed no threat to any of the officers, defendant Hervieux struck plaintiff twice with his baton, knocking plaintiff to the ground,” it states.
Hutchins alleges McKay drafted a police report which resulted in charges against him for disorderly conduct, assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. The suit says McKay falsified the allegations.
According to the suit, Hutchins was acquitted of all charges after a Springfield District Court trial.
Other allegations in the suit are: unlawful entry, false arrest, failure to discipline and train officers, assault and battery (against McKay and Hervieux), false arrest and imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and abuse of process.
Hutchins is seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages, interest and costs of the suit, attorneys’ fees and any other relief the court deems “just and proper.”
In an answer to the complaint filed in court records on behalf of the three officers, lawyer Kevin B. Coyle said the defendants denied the excessive force and other allegations. Coyle said the court lacks jurisdiction, the officers are entitled to immunity to the claims, and the complaint was filed late.
Buffy Spencer, , 2019, masslive.com, “Federal trial underway in Boston on Springfield police brutality lawsuit”, https://www.masslive.com/springfield/2019/01/federal-trial-underway-in-boston-on-springfield-police-brutality-lawsuit.html