Police, The Fourth Amendment, Qualified Immunity

Baltimore County Auxiliary Officer J.T. Lepore allegedly did bad, broke guy’s teeth

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Case: TREMELLEN v. LEPORE, Civil Action No. RDB-12-02900 (D. Maryland, April 30, 2013)


On Sunday, December 11, 2011, at approximately 2 a.m., the plaintiff Tyler Tremellen (“Plaintiff” or “Tremellen”) and his friend Christopher A. Bowling (“Bowling”) left a restaurant in Towson, Maryland, and started walking toward a friend’s house on York Road. Compl. ¶ 8. While walking, Tremellen and Bowling began “playfully roughhousing for approximately five seconds in the crosswalk” at the intersection of York Road and Burke Avenue. Id. ¶ 9. The roughhousing did not interfere with traffic or disturb anyone, but it did catch the attention of Officer J.T. Lepore (“Officer Lepore”), who was traveling on York Road in a marked Baltimore County police vehicle. Id. ¶¶ 9-10. Upon seeing the vehicle’s headlights, Tremellen and Bowling “stopped their horseplay . . . and resumed walking south on York Road.” Id. ¶ 11. Officer Lepore stopped his vehicle, exited, and began speaking to Bowling. Id. ¶ 12. When Officer Lepore exited his car, Tremellen saw that the police vehicle’s lights had not been activated and continued walking south toward their destination. Id. ¶ 13. Tremellen asserts that he did not hear any request from Officer Lepore to stop. Id.
Bowling explained to Officer Lepore that he and Tremellen were good friends and “had just been horsing around and not fighting.” Id. ¶ 14. Bowling provided the officer with his identification and told him that they were both from Ocean City, Maryland and staying in Towson for the weekend. Id. Upon returning Bowling’s identification, Officer Lepore told him it was not safe to play in the street and stated, “tell your friend he is an asshole.” Id. ¶ 14. Bowling then walked to his friend’s house, where he believed Tremellen had already arrived. Id.

Due to his unfamiliarity with the area, Tremellen had continued walking down York Road and inadvertently passed the friend’s house. Id. ¶ 16. Eventually, Tremellen realized he had walked too far and started walking back toward the intersection of York Road and Burke Avenue. Id. ¶ 18. Officer Lepore, who had returned to his vehicle and was driving south on York Road, saw Tremellen and followed him to the intersection of York Road and Burke Avenue. Id. ¶¶ 20-21. Officer Lepore did not activate his emergency lights on the car or otherwise make Tremellen aware of his presence. Id. ¶ 22. Tremellen alleges that he did not see the officer’s vehicle. Id. ¶ 21.
Officer Lepore exited his car at the intersection and “charged at Plaintiff full speed from behind.” Id. ¶ 22. Officer Lepore then “grabbed Plaintiff’s arm using a martial arts maneuver while twisting it behind Plaintiff’s back, and violently drove Plaintiff to the ground using all of his body weight while restraining Plaintiff’s arm so that Plaintiff could not use his arms to break the fall.” Id. Tremellen fell to his knee, then his face, and was knocked unconscious. Id. ¶¶ 24-25. Tremellen fractured his right medial tibial plateau bone, broke three of his front teeth, and suffered several facial lacerations as a result of the impact. Id.

Written by Burgers Allday

May 7, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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