Metropolitan Area News in Brief
Paralyzed man sues over police behavior
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Wednesday, May 7, 1997
A South Philadelphia man who was paralyzed from the neck down when he was thrown head-first into the interior wall of a police van filed a federal civil rights suit against the city yesterday.
Calvin Saunders, 21 seeks more than $100 million in compensatory and punitive damages against the city and officers involved.The lawsuit contends that the police department has condoned the use of violence and excessive force since at least 1990. The suit, filed by Center City lawyers Fortunato N. Perri Jr. and Gavin P. Lentz, was assigned to U. S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell.
Saunders was arrested shortly after 4 p.m. April 1 at 19th and Pierce Streets by officers who said they suspected him in the theft of a 1994 Acura Legend.
Saunders said he was put into a police van in handcuffs. When the lawsuit states, Saunders was thrown head-first into the wall, injuring his neck. The suit contends that the officers aggravated his condition bu roughly pulling him off the floor of the van and placing him in a wheelchair.