Attorney Claudia Lagos Clears Alleged Police Attacker

Boston Cops Sued for Alleged Excessive Force, Malicious Prosecution

Jonathan Adams (Staff)
Open Media Boston • February 20, 2014

BOSTON — A Boston man is suing Boston Police Department officers, alleging excessive force and malicious prosecution following his arrest in January last year.

Joseph Johnson filed the lawsuit in federal court in Boston in December against Officer Charbonnier (first name and current domicile is unknown to plaintiff), Robert England, and Sgt. Clark (first name and current domicile is unknown to plaintiff), after police allegedly “tackled him to the ground causing his head …to hit a brick wall.”

According to the complaint, Johnson “was standing on a public sidewalk using his cellular telephone” when he was allegedly tackled, and as a result he “lost consciousness and had to be taken to the Boston Medical Center for treatment.”

He was also “falsely and maliciously criminally charged,” alleges the complaint, and he “was exonerated of all criminal allegations” against him.

The complaint claims that the incident took place during an afternoon in January last year, when the Johnson was standing outside a market sending a text on his cellphone.

It’s alleged that Charbonnier, who was dressed in plain clothes, approached Johnson, and without “identifying himself as a police officer and without making any commands … grabbed the plaintiff around the neck and tackled him head first into a brick wall and then down to the sidewalk,” leaving Johnson “bleeding from the head” and momentarily losing consciousness.

It’s further alleged that “England moved witnesses away in an effort to avoid anyone’s interference on behalf of the plaintiff,” and that this “allowed Charbonnnier additional time to violently manhandle plaintiff.”

“Defendant Clark was also on scene. He too allowed Charbonnier to continue assaulting plaintiff, whereby plaintiff sustained additional injuries when he lost consciousness and fell to the ground again, ” it continues.

The complaint states that Johnson “was charged with assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.” It’s alleged that “the defendants were instrumental in obtaining the charges and pursuing the charges” and that those charges were initiated through a “blatantly false police report … ”

The complaint claims that the charges against Johnson were dropped when his legal counsel obtained a video from the market “that clearly showed the events as they took place.”

It alleges that the police officers’ action “were taken with reckless disregard for the plaintiff’s constitutional rights,” and that after the charges against Johnson were dropped, “the City of Boston neither investigated nor disciplined the arresting officers.”

Johnson’s attorney, Lauren Thomas, told Open Media Boston in a prepared press statement, “We fully stand by the statements made in the complaint and are still investigating this case to make sure that the responsible parties are held accountable.”

“I would like to commend Attorney Claudia Lagos of Scully & Lagos who represented Mr. Johnson on the criminal charges. Through her diligence a video was discovered that completely exonerated Mr. Johnson of all the charges in that case. This video will undoubtedly be a center piece to our pursuit of justice in Federal Court,” the statement continues.

The City of Boston did not respond to Open Media Boston’s request for a press statement, and the Boston Police Department said it does not comment on ongoing cases.

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