Krasner & Long Win Excessive Force Lawsuit Against Philadelphia Police Department

The Philadelphia police brutality attorneys of Krasner & Long recently won a $31,000 award in an excessive force lawsuit filed by plaintiff Khadijah White against the Philadelphia Police Department and the city’s Director of Public Safety. White, who would later go on to become an assistant professor of journalism at Rutgers, suffered a broken finger during the course of her wrongful arrest.

On March 12, 2012, Khadijah White was peacefully protesting proposed legislation against feeding Philadelphia’s homeless. When a skirmish erupted between protesters and police officers controlling the crowds, White was dragged into the scuffle and arrested for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and harassment.

Unfortunately for White, it was hardly a standard arrest. As White recalls, “One of [the officers] pulled so hard on my finger, they broke it.”

White is referring to Officer Edward Ashburn, one of four officers named in the lawsuit White would go on to file once prosecutors dropped the charges against her. Other defendants named in the suit included Civil Affairs Police Capt. Stephen Glenn, Commander of the PPD’s Civil Affairs Unit, and Michael Resnick, Philadelphia’s Director of Public Safety.

While charges against three additional officers were eventually cleared, Officer Ashburn and Capt. Stephen Glenn were collectively ordered to pay $23,000 for excessive force, while Resnick was ordered to pay another $8,000 for “malicious prosecution,” bringing the total award to $31,000. On the conditions of an agreement made during settlement talks, the verdict against Resnick will be reversed — but the sealed records will remain as a testament to what the jury described as “malicious” and “wanton” conduct.

protesters rally against police brutality

“Police are supposed to uphold the law,” says criminal defense attorney Lawrence Krasner, “and when they violate it, there’s really only one conclusion you can draw, which is that these law-enforcement officers are pretty comfortable saying things that aren’t true. That’s not how the system is supposed to work.”

What “things that aren’t true”? Krasner is referring to Capt. Stephen Glenn’s changing account of that day’s events, which turned the original shove into a “sensation of” being shoved during deposition. In fact, Capt. Glenn originally alleged being shoved so hard he fell backward into the throng — an event which simply cannot be found in video footage of the melee. Officers who would later become defendants in the suit also alleged that White actually dared them to strike her.

However, that wasn’t exactly White’s recollection of events. After the charges against her were dropped, White felt it was important to file a wrongful arrest lawsuit against the officers responsible. In her own words, “I felt what the police did was wrong and inappropriate. So I wanted to have a day in court to make [them] answer for what they did, for the way that they hurt me. And to be held responsible for their actions.” White adds, “I really felt like they struck out at me because I was speaking my mind.”

If you’ve been a victim of police brutality in Philadelphia, or feel that your legal rights were violated during a wrongful arrest, you may be able to recover an award by filing a civil lawsuit. If you were seriously injured by police officers, you deserve to have the matter investigated. Call the criminal defense lawyers of Krasner & Long at (215) 882-9752 right away to start discussing your legal options in a free and private consultation.

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