Pennsylvania – A man from Industry Borough has settled his federal civil rights lawsuit against the Beaver Borough Police Department and its former K-9 officer.
Federal court dockets show US District Court Judge Mark Hornak closed the case brought by James Edward Cicco against Beaver Borough on Thursday after parties reached a settlement agreement with the assistance of federal mediators.
Cicco had alleged Officer Jeffrey Wijnen-Reims used excessive force during his arrest back in August of 2016. Dashcam video of the incident — released as the result of legal action brought against District Attorney David Lozier by a group of concerned citizens of Beaver — showed Cicco being bitten by the department’s K-9 while handcuffed.
An investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police determined that officers committed no criminal wrongdoing during the arrest, although experts were highly critical of the way the department had utilized its police dog.
District Attorney David Lozier had made accusations in open court that the Beaver Countian’s in-depth investigative reporting about the controversy amounted to an attempt to undermine the criminal justice system. Three separate judges collectively dismissed dozens of felony and other charges that were being prosecuted against Cicco by the District Attorney’s Office. A trial on the remaining misdemeanor charges ended in a hung jury. Cicco was ultimately convicted of a single summary charge of driving on a suspended license.
Terms of a settlement agreement ending Cicco’s federal lawsuit were not disclosed in court filings, but a source in Beaver Borough familiar with its provisions said the town’s insurance carrier paid out approximately $250,000 to end the litigation. Beaver Borough will be responsible for paying a deductible of approximately $25,000. The town and its officers admitted no wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
Following the incident involving Cicco, Beaver Borough retired its police dog and put its K-9 vehicle up for sale. Officer Jeffrey Wijnen-Reims resigned from the Beaver Police Department last October.
James Edward Cicco was represented in his federal litigation by the Ambridge law firm of Bowers & Fawcett.