Monessen sued over Washington County man’s arrest
A Washington County man has sued Monessen, its police department and two of its officers for $500,000 in federal court for allegedly violating his civil rights when the officers pulled him from his car at a grocery store on May 3.
Richard Tuman of Houston, Washington County, accuses Lt. James Smith and Officer Chris Gray of detaining him without probable cause outside Foodland on Donner Avenue on May 3, according to a 10-count lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh.
Monessen Mayor Lou Mavrakis, police Chief John Mandarino and city solicitor Gary Matta declined to comment Thursday on the suit. The men said they had not seen the lawsuit.
Tuman alleges the officers used excessive force to detain him, including “brutally” slamming him repeatedly against his vehicle while he was handcuffed, causing bruises, lacerations and “extreme pain” to his back and shoulders.
The suit accuses the officers of using excessive force, detaining Tuman for no legitimate purpose and violating his constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizure.
Smith and Gray are accused of assault, battery, false imprisonment and inflicting emotional distress. The city failed to sufficiently supervise, train or discipline its employees, the suit says.
Tuman said in the suit that the officers asked for his identification and asked him to get out of his car because they had received a tip about a green Mercury swerving on the road as it entered Monessen. The suit claims that when Tuman questioned why he had to get out of the car, Smith allegedly opened the door, grabbed him by his arm and “viciously” pulled him from the car. Tuman said he repeatedly told the officers that he has a lingering back injury and a torn rotator cuff from a coal mine accident.
He said he was not charged with any crime after officers conducted what the suit called an illegal search of his car. Gray told Smith that Tuman was not drunk and “does not look loaded or anything else,” according to the suit.
Neither Tuman nor his attorney, Keith O. Campbell of Washington, could be reached for comment.
Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or [email protected].