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Philadelphia Man Awarded $65,000 in Police Assault

A Philadelphia state court jury awarded $65,000 to a man after finding two police officers liable for assault and battery and malicious prosecution.

At issue was the April 2, 2013, arrest of Phillip Easley, 30, who walked to a store and offered a man five dollars if he would drop him off at a bus terminal.  After the man agreed, Easley got into the rear passenger seat because the front seats were occupied.

Easley noticed a police cruiser turn on its dome light and follow them several blocks later.  The driver and front passenger exited the car and ran after it was parked.  Easley said he walked toward the officers, and Officer Joseph Burke punched him in the left eye as Officer Timothy Houser ran in pursuit of the other two men.

Once Easley fell to the ground, Burke allegedly punched and kicked him, yelling, “stop resisting before I tase you,” although Easley was not resisting.  While handcuffed and on his stomach, Burke stepped on Easley’s neck, causing his head to hit the concrete and split open.  At a hospital, Easley received four stitches and was treated for knee pain.  Burke told Easley he was being charged because “someone had to get charges” after the other two fled.  He was charged with driving the vehicle.  At a bench trial he was found not guilty on all charges.

After a five day civil trial, the jury awarded Easley $65,000 on September 18, 2014.  He was represented by attorney Jonathan J. James and Michael C. Schwartz.  See:  Easley v Burke, Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, Case No 130801358. 

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Related legal case

Easley v Burke