Lawsuit filed against Syracuse Police Department accuses officers of excessive force

Jessica Sheldon | Photo Editor

Three Syracuse Police Department officers have been accused of assaulting a man following a traffic stop. In the above photo, Syracuse police and Syracuse University's Department of Public Safety mark off an area following a shooting near Walnut Park earlier this fall.

An Onondaga County man has filed a lawsuit against the Syracuse Police Department in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, accusing three officers of assaulting him by use of excessive force.

Gregory Edwards alleged in a lawsuit filed Monday that three officers — Robert Harrington, Mamoun Abraham and Andrew Quinn — assaulted him following a traffic stop in December 2013, resulting in several physical injuries.

Edwards is demanding a trial by jury and is seeking $2,000,000 in damages, in part due to surgery he alleges was required to regain proper use of his hand following the alleged assault. According to Edwards’ complaint, the case was previously heard by the Syracuse Citizens Review Board, which found the officers guilty of the lawsuit, per the complaint.

Edwards is currently serving a sentence for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, according to state prison records. He is being held in the Cayuga Correctional Facility and is 42 years old, according to the prison records.

According to the complaint filed Monday, Edwards was a passenger in a vehicle that crashed into an embankment after failing to stop for police on Dec. 22, 2013. Edwards alleges that after climbing out of the vehicle, he was run down by a police cruiser and jumped onto the hood of the cruiser before being thrown to the ground as the cruiser stopped.

Edwards alleges that while he was on the ground, police officers jumped on him and “pummeled” him with punches and kicks to his head and the left side of his body.

“One of the defendants had a knee on my back and one or two of the others were lifting my arm (left) beyond its range of motion while yelling for me to ‘stop resisting’ (clearly I was in no position to resist). I was assaulted until I felt my left shoulder pop and I then yelled, ‘alright enough’. At which time the defendants realized that my hand were behind my back and finally cuffed me,” Edwards wrote in the complaint.

Edwards also alleges that upon entering the Onondaga County Justice Center, where he was kept for resisting arrest, he was denied medical attention for nearly 30 days. He wrote in the complaint that he experienced dizziness, headaches and nosebleeds in addition to having trouble eating and moving because of bruised ribs and back pain.

The Syracuse Police Department was not immediately available for comment.

Complaint by Michael Burke on Scribd


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