WATCH: Woman Punched by Cop in Video Files Lawsuit Against York City Police Officers

Melissa Penn, 21, of York.

A York woman who was seen in a viral video being punched in the face by a police officer while she resisted arrest last summer has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of York.

Melissa Penn, 22, of York, is also suing York City Police Officers Galen Detweiler, Bradley Engle and three “John Doe” city officers who were at Central Booking during the July 3 incident.

The lawsuit, which was filed Monday in Pennsylvania Middle District Court, seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages against the police officers, and other relief.

“The City of York has not received any notification of litigation as of today,” said Philip Given, chief of staff for the mayor.

He declined to comment further.

The suit alleges that officers arrested Penn without probable cause and with force, “which was unreasonable under the circumstances” and a violation of her constitutional rights. Her rights were further violated when she was “intentionally and unreasonably delayed” access to medical care.

Penn pleaded guilty in December to resisting arrest and defiant trespass in connection with the July 3 incident at Pandora’s Box on East Market Street. She was sentenced to two years on probation.

Penn had been kicked out of the bar after getting into a fight, police said, but she kept trying to get back in. Detweiler testified in court that Penn violently pulled away and yelled expletives at him as he went to arrest her. Later, he said, she kicked him in the chest and put her hands around his neck.

The York City Police Department previously released a statement that said, in part, that “this video is a very short few seconds of what occurred and we have video from multiple sources.” Police asked people to “not draw conclusions regarding a small portion of the incident.”

Later, then York City Police Chief Wes Kahley said the department believes that Detweiler “did everything that was necessary to protect himself.”

The federal lawsuit alleges Detweiler seized Penn’s arm and whipped her face-first into the side of a brick building. He “threw her to the cement sidewalk, where her body and then her head bounced off the cement.”

“Defendant Detweiler then violently beat Ms. Penn about the head and neck, repeatedly with closed, gloved fists, as a crowd of onlookers watched,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit references the 10-second viral video that was posted on Facebook.

Penn drifted in and out of consciousness after the beating, the lawsuit states. When she came to in the back of a police cruiser, Detweiler allegedly said, “I got your a– now, you kicked me.”

Later, when she again regained consciousness while at Central Booking, she was coughing up blood and screaming for medical attention. The suit alleges it was hours before officers responded to her cries for help.

One of the officers tried to discourage her from going to the hospital, but Penn decided to do so. She later returned to Central Booking and asked multiple times to call her doctor regarding her symptoms, based on the instructions she was given at the hospital. Her requests were denied, the lawsuit alleges.

During a bail hearing, Penn said she did not have any prior significant arrests. But an officer expressed doubts about Penn’s statements.

“As a result, the judicial officer refuses to release Ms. Penn upon her own recognizance as she had requested,” the lawsuit states.

Source: https://www.ydr.com/story/news/2018/05/02/woman-punched-cop-viral-video-files-lawsuit-against-city-york/574057002/

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5518 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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