Massachusetts Cop Forum banner
Not open for further replies.
1 - 1 of 1 Posts

Subscribing Member
1,209 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Assault alleged against former police chief
By Cathryn Keefe O'Hare/ [email protected]
Thursday, February 3, 2005

A Danvers woman filed charges in federal district court Tuesday alleging that former Police Chief Stuart Chase assaulted her in September 2003, when he first yelled at her, then grabbed her arm, then arrested her for trespassing, and then released her after fingerprinting and holding her in a cell for two hours.

The trespassing charge was dropped at her court appearance the next day, according to the complaint brought by Cynthia Kennedy of Rand Circle against Stuart M. Chase and the town of Danvers.

Kennedy sought treatment that evening at Beverly Hospital, according to the narrative provided in the complaint written by the plaintiff's law firm, Howard Friedman, P.C., 90 Canal St., Boston. The emergency room report is quoted as stating she had bruising under her arm and that she was "very upset, tearful and anxious."

As a result, the suit claims, she also sought help from a mental health specialist.

The town had not yet received a copy of the complaint, Town Manager Wayne Marquis said Wednesday morning. According to Attorney Myong J. Joun, a lawyer for the plaintiff, the town was to be served Wednesday. The case docket number is 05-10191.

"I was aware we had an incident about a year and half ago," Marquis said, but he said he did not remember details. "This leaves me scratching my head," he said.

The incident began earlier in the day Sept. 29, 2003, according to the complaint, which stated Officer David Woytovich drove to Kennedy's home and confronted her about an unregistered vehicle outside her home. She tried to show him a notice allowing a 30-day grace period issued by the police, but he yelled at her and made a derogatory comment, causing her embarrassment, the complaint states. She went to the police station and to the chief to complain about this treatment, which resulted in the chief's ill treatment, according to the complaint.

"Don't I have the right to file a complaint?" the suit states she asked. But, the chief is quoted as responding, "You have the right to get out of here. There's the stairs."

"He then squeezed her arm harder," the complaint states.

When she complained that he was assaulting her, he arrested her for trespassing, "dragged her by the arm" to the booking desk and had her arrested.

"Ms. Kennedy was shocked. She started to cry," the complaint states. A female officer gave her the proper form when Kennedy said she wanted to file a complaint, the narrative continues.

The complaint states that Chief Chase "retaliated against Ms. Kennedy for exercising her First Amendment rights and attempting to file a complaint against a Danvers police officer for complaining about his holding her tightly."

He allegedly used "excessive force."

He denied her the constitutional rights to "freedom from arrest without a warrant or probable cause; freedom from an unreasonable seizure of her person; freedom from the use of unreasonable use of force; and freedom of speech."

According to the suit, "The Town of Danvers is liable for the acts of its policymaker," the chief of police.

The suit seeks compensatory damages, attorney Juon said in a separate interview, for actual damages, as well as punitive damages "awarded to punish" the defendant.

Marquis said the town will turn the matter over to its insurance company, which has lawyers to represent both the town and Chase.

The plaintiff filed in federal court because of the constitutional issues, Juon said. An added benefit is that it could go speedily through the process in about a year or two, as opposed to about five years in state court, he said.
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
Not open for further replies.