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Thread: $55,000 awarded to man falsely arrested for 'brandishing' a handgun

  1. #1
    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    $55,000 awarded to man falsely arrested for 'brandishing' a handgun

    Consider this the first big win in the new age of civil suits against cities and police departments in the state of Connecticut with regards to bad arrests regarding firearms.

    Felipe Rodriguez is his name.

    Apparently in 2005, he was arrested following a dispute over a parking spot where the person who had confronted him over the parking spot had alleged he had 'waved' a handgun around.

    The West Haven police department failed to do any kind of real investigation, and instead arrested him for breach of peace and reckless endangerment. Seeing as how there was no evidence or any probable cause, the charges were nolled. Mr. Rodriguez pursued a civil case against the city and has now been awarded $55,000 in compensatory damages.

    This is good news. This is proof positive that whether a gun is 'involved' or not in Connecticut, police do not have unlimited powers to just arrest or detain anyone they want at anytime they want to. Let the path of lawsuits and case law begin.

    Read more:
    http://nhregister.com/articles/2011/...b306089445.txt
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/59153540/R...-vs-West-Haven
    Last edited by Rich B; 07-02-2011 at 09:30 PM.

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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    That is good news. Police agencies need to understand that they will be held accountable for their illegal actions. With the economy we are in now, a steep financial penalty is often the most painful.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    West Haven man wins award.

    I was reading another thread yesterday, something about the open carry myth(?) where a gentleman argued that the police are never held to account for their actions regarding their acting under the color of law. I guess this one case should put that argument to rest for now.

    Now it is true that this individual in West Haven had to undergo great emotional and economic expense to deal with the criminal justice system, but he did prevail, and West Haven is poorer for it.
    “The Constitution shall never be construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” —Samuel Adams

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    Regular Member KIX's Avatar
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    I added the paperwork to a small post on my site so people don't need to give up their facebook info to download the document.

    http://ctpistolpermitissues.com/2011...in-west-haven/

    Jonathan
    www.ctpistolpermitissues.com - tracking all the local issuing authority, DPS and other insanity with permit issues
    www.ctgunsafety.com - my blog and growing list of links useful to gun owners (especially in Connecticut).

    Rich B: My favorite argument against OC being legal in CT is "I have never seen someone OC in CT".
    I have never seen a person drink tea from a coke bottle while standing on their head, that doesn't mean it is illegal.

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    I was reading another thread yesterday, something about the open carry myth(?) where a gentleman argued that the police are never held to account for their actions regarding their acting under the color of law. I guess this one case should put that argument to rest for now.
    Not necessarily.

    The Tax Payers of West Haven and Connecticut were punished for this officers actions, but was the OFFICER punished? Is he fired? Does any of this award come from HIS pocket?
    Last edited by xd shooter; 07-03-2011 at 02:19 PM.

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    Regular Member MKEgal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LQM
    I was reading another thread yesterday, something about the open carry myth(?) where a gentleman argued that the police are never held to account for their actions regarding their acting under the color of law. I guess this one case should put that argument to rest for now.
    Police are rarely "held to account for their actions regarding their acting under the color of law".
    It happens, but not nearly as often as their acting under color of law happens.
    That's why incidents like this (& the several I know about in WI, & 1 each I remember reading from PA & CA) make the news - they're unusual.

    (And lest I be accused of LEO-bashing, I'm not saying that every cop is bad, or even that many of them act wrongfully. But since they're supposed to know & enforce laws, ANY LEO breaking the law is bad.)
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    Here is the Complaint that was filed

    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT


    ************************************************** *****
    FELIPE RODRIGUEZ CIVIL NO. 3:08CV00089 (AWT)

    V.

    CITY OF WEST HAVEN, OFFICER WILLIAM CICCOSANTI AND OFFICER WILLIAM OAKLEY, in their individual capacities

    MAY 13, 2008

    SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

    1. This is an action for money damages to redress the deprivation by the defendant and co-defendants of rights secured to the plaintiff by the constitution and laws of the United States and the State of Connecticut. The defendant and codefendants, without probable cause, unlawfully detained, searched, harassed, accused, arrested, charged and falsely made statements against the plaintiff.

    2. Jurisdiction of this Court is invoked under the provisions of §§1331 and 1343(3) of Title 28 and Secs. 1983 and 1988 of Title 42 of the United States Code, and of the pendent jurisdiction of this Court with respect to other causes of action available under state law.

    3. During all times mentioned in this complaint the plaintiff was and still is a resident of the United States residing in New Haven, Connecticut and is of full age, and is Hispanic of race.

    4. During all times mentioned in this complaint, the defendant, the City of West Haven,was and is a municipal corporation duly chartered as such under the laws of the State of Connecticut.

    5. At all times mentioned, the co-defendant, William Ciccosanti, was a police officer employed by the defendant, the West Haven Police Department and was the responding officer on duty at the time of the incident. Co-defendant Ciccosanti is Caucasian of race and white of color and is being sued in his individual capacity.

    6. At all times mentioned, the co-defendant, William Oakley, was a police officer employed by the defendant, the West Haven Police Department and was the responding officer on duty at the time of the incident. Co-defendant Oakley is Caucasian of race and white of color and is being sued in his individual capacity.

    7. On or about October 13, 2005, the plaintiff was knowingly, yet wrongfully arrested by the defendants for Breach of Peace in the Second Degree, Threatening in the Second Degree and Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree.

    8. Just prior to his arrest on the aforementioned date, the plaintiff’s neighbor, Anthony Clarke, was verbally challenging the plaintiff about where his car was parked. It should be noted that plaintiff’s vehicle was legally parked on a public street, but which happened to be in front of Mr. Clarke’s residence.

    9. Plaintiff was thereafter arrested by the defendant and co-defendants for alleged brandishing a weapon, which the plaintiff, in point of fact, never removed from the secure location he had it within his home.

    10. The plaintiff had a valid Connecticut gun permit for said weapon.

    11. In December of 2006, a nolle was entered as to the all of the false charges brought against plaintiff by the defendant and co-defendants

    12. Plaintiff was thereafter forced to hire a lawyer and defend himself against completely false and unfounded charges.

    13. During all times mentioned in this complaint, the defendant and co-defendants acted under color and pretense of law and engaged in the improper and illegal conduct as aforedescribed, causing severe injury to the plaintiff, and in the process of depriving the plaintiff of the right, privileges and immunities secured to him by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, as well as the laws of the United States.

    14. The acts and omissions of the defendant and co-defendants hereinafter described constituted a deprivation of the plaintiff's constitutional rights, privileges and immunities, and while these acts were carried out under color of law, they had no justification or excuse in law, and were instead gratuitous, illegal, improper and totally unrelated to any activity in which the municipal law enforcement officers should have appropriately and legally engaged in the course of protecting persons or property or insuring civil order.

    15. In the manner described herein, the defendant the City of West Haven, which has a history, pattern and practice of depriving Hispanics and other minorities of their rights, maintained and condoned a custom of depriving individuals, such as the plaintiff, of their constitutional rights, through its traditions, policies, ordinances, regulations and decisions officially adopted and promulgated by and through the department.

    16. The defendant and co-defendants deprived the plaintiff of his right to be free from warrantless arrest, arrest without probable cause, unreasonable arrest and malicious prosecution. All these rights are secured to the plaintiff by the provisions of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Title 42 of the United States Code, Section 1983 and 1988; and the State of Connecticut, Art. 1, Sections 1 and 7 respectively.

    17. In the manner herein described, all of the aforementioned defendant and co-defendants subjected the plaintiff to false arrest, unreasonable detention, denial of substantive due process of law, and denial of equal protection under law. All these rights are secured to the plaintiff by the provisions of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and by Title 42 of the United States Code §§1983 and 1988 and State of Connecticut, Article 1, Sections 1 and 7 respectively.

    COUNT TWO:

    1-15. Paragraphs 1 through 15 of the First Count are hereby incorporated by reference and made Paragraphs 1 through 15 of the Second Count, as if fully set forth herein.

    16. The defendant, through its agents, servants and/or employees, subjected the plaintiff's person to false arrest based upon blatantly false and baseless accusations, which, upon a thorough investigation, would have been decreed as such.

    17. In addition, the aforementioned defendant, through the aforedescribed extreme and outrageous acts of its agents, servants and/or employees, along with the individual co-defendants, were responsible for causing the intentional infliction of emotional distress upon the plaintiff as they knew, or should have known, or should have reasonably anticipated that their actions, in wrongfully accusing, detaining, charging, arresting, incarcerating and subjecting the plaintiff to the criminal
    justice system as an accused criminal, would cause him to suffer severe emotional, psychological, as well as physical harm to his person.

    COUNT THREE:

    1-15. Paragraphs 1 through 15 of the First Count are hereby incorporated by reference and made Paragraphs 1 through 15 of the Third Count, as if fully set forth herein.

    16. In addition, said aforementioned defendant through the aforedescribed acts of its agents, servants and/or employees, along with each of the individual codefendants, were responsible for causing the negligent infliction of emotional distress upon the plaintiff as they knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should well have known, that their actions in wrongfully and publicly accusing, detaining, assaulting, charging, arresting, incarcerating and subjecting the plaintiff to the criminal justice system as an accused criminal would and did cause him to suffer severe emotional, psychological, as well as physical harm to his person.

    COUNT FOUR:

    1-15. Paragraphs 1 through 15 of the First Count are hereby incorporated by reference and made Paragraphs 1 through 15 of the Fourth Count, as if fully set forth herein.

    16. The charges were issued against the plaintiff by the State’s Attorney’s office because of the direct request of the individual co-defendants. 17. The multiple charges of criminal conduct which were brought against the plaintiff were done so without any probable cause whatsoever.

    18. As there was no legal basis to establish probable cause for the arrest of the plaintiff with respect to the aforementioned charges, the individual codefendants’ actions were malicious in nature.

    19. In light of the aforedescribed conduct, the actions of the individual co-defendants constituted the tort of malicious prosecution.

    WHEREFORE, in light of all of the foregoing, the plaintiff claims judgment against the defendant and co-defendants jointly and severely as follows:

    a. Compensatory damages in an amount this Court shall consider just and reasonable;


    b. Punitive damages against the defendants and co-defendants in an amount this Court shall consider to be just and reasonable.


    c. Attorney's fees and reimbursement of the costs related to the bringing of this action;


    d. Such other relief as this Court shall consider to be fair and equitable.


    PLAINTIFF, FELIPE RODRIGUEZ

  8. #8
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    What are the correct CT brandishing laws?
    I couldn't find anything except for a facsimile gun nothing for a real gun.
    I would assume brandishing is OK in self defense to scare the threat off. It doesn't say anything about life threatening or great bodily injury either, just self defense.


    53-206c

    (c) Except in self defense, no person shall carry, draw, exhibit or brandish a facsimile of a firearm or simulate a firearm in a threatening manner, with intent to frighten, vex or harass another person.

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by customcreationllc View Post
    What are the correct CT brandishing laws?
    I couldn't find anything except for a facsimile gun nothing for a real gun.
    I would assume brandishing is OK in self defense to scare the threat off. It doesn't say anything about life threatening or great bodily injury either, just self defense.


    53-206c

    (c) Except in self defense, no person shall carry, draw, exhibit or brandish a facsimile of a firearm or simulate a firearm in a threatening manner, with intent to frighten, vex or harass another person.
    I know of no such thing. That is why he wasn't charged with any.

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    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    The only thing I would do differently if filing suit is specify damages, real and punitive. Go for a big number up front. That gets great publicity. "Reichstag of Flyspeck, CT sued for $4.36 in real and $2.5 million in exemplary damages by citizen who thought he was living in the United States, not Nazi Germany..." something like that. You only get what the judge or jury decides, so why not aim high?
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    Regular Member Rich B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunslinger View Post
    The only thing I would do differently if filing suit is specify damages, real and punitive. Go for a big number up front.
    I am pretty sure his complaint lists a goal of $2 million.

    U.S. District Court
    United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (New Haven)
    CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 3:08-cv-00089-AWT
    Rodriguez v. West Haven, Police Dept et al
    Assigned to: Judge Alvin W. Thompson
    Demand: $2,000,000
    Cause: 42:1983 Civil Rights Act
    Date Filed: 01/18/2008
    Date Terminated: 06/22/2011
    Jury Demand: Both
    Nature of Suit: 440 Civil Rights: Other
    Jurisdiction: Federal Question
    Last edited by Rich B; 07-14-2011 at 03:54 PM.

  12. #12
    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich B View Post
    I am pretty sure his complaint lists a goal of $2 million.
    Now we're talking.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunslinger View Post
    Now we're talking.
    You had me at, "...by citizen who thought he was living in the United States, not Nazi Germany."

    Poetry, that.


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