A group of Massachusetts teenagers that say Nantucket police officers applied “excessive force” when arresting them without probable cause have filed a federal lawsuit. Troy Sullivan, Nicholas Phillips, David Loveberry, Adeane Watty, and Terrance Johnson, ages 13 to 18 and all African-American, say they were riding their bikes on August 8, 2007 at around 10:30 at night in Nantucket when Police Officer Taylor Noll told them to “move to the other side of the street.”
The teenagers say that they asked why the police officer did not ask the Caucasian tourists and workers that were there to move also. Noll then requested police backup and all the police officers that were on the island responded. A number of them reportedly chased the teenagers, with one cop ordering the boys to get on the ground. Officers Michael Nee, Richard Aprea, and Briand Ketcham then jumped on three of them and forced them onto the ground.
13-year-old Terrence Johnson’s shoulder became separated during the incident. Troy Sullivan fell of his bike after Officer Nee hit him with his police car. In front of a crowd, the five teenagers were restrained, frisked, and according to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, illegally arrested.
Nantucket Police Chief William Pittman, who has said the police men used excessive force, has ordered a full probe into the incident. None of the officers involved were disciplined.
Police Brutality Statistics
According to the Department of Justice, incidents involving excessive use of force and other tactics by law enforcement officers have increased by 25% between 2001 and 2007. Federal records indicate that most reported incidents do not lead to anyone being prosecuted for police brutality.
Injuries caused by police brutality can be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Five black teens sue Nantucket police, Boston.com, August 30, 2008
Police brutality cases on rise since 9/11, USAToday.com, July 18, 2007
Related Web Resource:
Police Brutality and Accountability in the United States, HRW.org