Broderick Shea sues city over riot arrest

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Late at night on April 12, 2014, in the wake of Union’s Men’s Hockey team’s Division I National Championship win, five students were arrested. Sch- enectady Mayor Gary McCarthy told Union revelers through a bullhorn that police would allow them to party on … but only if celebrations remained civil.

The police stepped in when bottles were thrown at vehicles in the crowd of 400 to 500 people. According to McCarthy, “most were well-behaved, but there were a few acting inappropriately.”

Among the five students arrested was former Union student Broderick Shea ‘16. His face was seen bloodied in photo- graphs, including his mugshot, at the time of his arrest.

Close to a year later, Shea’s lawyer, James Knox has stated that his client plans to sue the city over the arrest. Shea initially faced misdemeanor charges, including resisting arrest, inciting to riot, obstruction of govern- mental administration and disorderly conduct.

Shortly after announcing the planned legal action, Knox said that he was still open to resolving the matter with the city of Schenectady.

About a month ago, Knox said that he sent a letter to city lawyer Carl Falotico “to open the avenue of communication,” but that the city has not been “interested in resolving it along the lines we would like to.” He declined to discuss the mone- tary damages his client seeks. “The negotiations have not been productive so far,” Knox added.

When asked about the doc- ument, Falotico described it as a notice of occurrence, stating, “We’re going to review it and go from there.” Falotico was unavailable for further com- ment.

On March 27, Shea filed a federal lawsuit, naming Schenectady Police Officer Kenny Figueroa as the main defendant. Knox has stated that Figueroa was the arresting of- ficer, but the legal action in- cludes other officers who were not named.

When asked why it has taken a year to file a lawsuit, Knox stated, “It’s been about one year since this event oc- curred. Brody’s criminal charges have been dismissed. The timing is right.”

The filed complaint states that Shea was falsely arrested and illegally imprisoned, faced excessive force and was denied a phone call. It states that Figueroa violated Shea’s rights under the Fourth and Fifteenth Amendments by using excessive force against Shea.

The complaint states that Figueroa shoved Shea from be- hind and tackled him, slam- ming him to the ground. According to the complaint, one officer was on top of Shea as he was face down on the concrete, and another grabbed him by his hair and violently smashed his head into the con- crete.

According to the complaint, Shea suffered a severe lacera- tion on his forehead due to the police officers’ use of force. The laceration was allegedly open to his bone, requiring 21 stitches to close. The impact of Shea’s head hitting the pave- ment also allegedly caused a major concussion.

The complaint states that Shea was handcuffed and marched to a police car in front of numerous bystanders with blood streaming down his face. He was allegedly not read his Miranda rights or given any reasoning for his arrest. The complaint states that Shea asked several times throughout the night what the cause for his arrest was, but Figueroa re- fused to answer until his arraignment.

The complaint states that while being processed at the police station, Shea heard one of the officers refer to him as a “long-haired faggot.”

According to the complaint, after an hour in his cell, Shea’s forehead wound still continued to bleed. When he asked an of- ficer for something to treat his wound with, he was handed a dirty roll of toilet paper. The complaint states that Shea repeatedly requested to make a phone call and was denied his request until 6:15 a.m. His booking process had been around 12 a.m.

Within the complaint, it is stated that Shea suffered lasting effects from the concussion, such as anxiety, depression and difficulty focusing. It also states that Shea has suffered emotional injury from “being a criminal who, according to the charges of the police, had ‘incited a riot,’ a blatant lie.”

An image of Broderick Shea’s bloody face as he was dragged to a police car has made its rounds through the local newspapers, television and the Internet. The complaint states that due to this, Shea has been subjected to public scorn and humiliation, resulting in further emotional injury.

According to Knox, Shea took medical leave from Union during the spring 2014 trimester. He returned to Union in fall 2014 but was unable to finish the fall trimester and has permanently withdrawn from the college.

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