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Teacher arrested after Homewood community meeting might settle with city

Tribune-Review
| Thursday, November 20, 2014 12:24 a.m
PTRCONFLICT1062813
James Knox
Dennis Henderson, a teacher at Manchester Academic Charter School..

A teacher has reached a proposed settlement with the city over his June 26, 2013, arrest outside a community meeting in Homewood, attorneys for the teacher and the arresting officer said Wednesday.

Dennis Henderson, 39, sued Pittsburgh police Officer Jonathan Gromek for unlawful retaliation, false arrest and imprisonment, excessive force and malicious prosecution.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Mitchell ordered the case closed Wednesday based on reports of a settlement, according to court documents.

Vic Walczak, legal director for the state American Civil Liberties Union and one of Henderson’s lawyers, and Bryan Campbell, one of Gromek’s lawyers, confirmed there is a proposal, but it has to be approved by Pittsburgh city council.

Tim McNulty, spokesman for Mayor Bill Peduto, declined comment.

Henderson, who is black, said in the lawsuit that he left a meeting of the Community Empowerment Association and was standing outside his car getting a business card when Gromek sped past, swerving toward him, causing Henderson to exclaim, “Wow.”

Gromek turned his patrol cruiser around and confronted Henderson. He eventually arrested Henderson and charged him with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and blocking a public sidewalk passage.

Henderson, a teacher at Manchester Academic Charter School, spent about 12 hours in jail. Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. withdrew the charges a month later. Campbell said Gromek remains a Pittsburgh police officer.

Brian Bowling is a Trib Total Media staff writer. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.

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