Partygoer's suit claims excessive force
By Chuck Biedka
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
A Cheswick man filed a civil rights lawsuit on Monday against Harmar Township and one of its former police officers for allegedly firing a Taser and using excessive force against him when he was a high school student in 2011.
Anthony Pane, no age available, of Sherman Street is alleging that Harmar police didn't properly train its officers to use the Taser, which administers an electrical shock to briefly disable a suspect.
Pane alleges that Patrolman Brian Coughlin used a Taser to subdue him just before midnight on March 24, 2011. Pane was a Springdale High School senior.
Police were responding to a neighbor's complaint about loud noise at a party in Harmar.
Coughlin, Harmar Township officials and Pane's attorney Gianni Florio declined to comment on Monday.
According to the lawsuit, Pane alleges he was handcuffed soon after he was shocked and that police misidentified him even though he told them his correct name.
The lawsuit claims that police made fun of Pane for losing control of his bladder when the Taser's electrical charge hit him. Further, after being detained for more than an hour, he was eventually released and charges were never filed.
“Pane was never charged with a crime, as he never broke any law,” the lawsuit says in part.
The lawsuit charges excessive and unreasonable force was exerted against Pane without sufficient reason. As a result, the lawsuit claims, Pane feared for his life.
The lawsuit says Pane suffered neck injuries and chest pain, a cut on his knee and psychological trauma.
Pane said that teachers and students at his school made fun of him in person and on Facebook.
Coughlin and a Cheswick officer were backing up a Springdale Borough officer who was investigating a noise complaint from a party in Springdale, according to Springdale police Chief Joe Naviglia.
Harmar police Chief Jason Domaratz said Coughlin was a part-time officer and resigned more than a year ago.
Springdale isn't specified in the seven-page lawsuit. Harmar and Coughlin are named as defendants.
The lawsuit was electronically posted on Monday in federal court in Pittsburgh.
Coughlin, now a police officer in Turtle Creek, said he didn't know about the lawsuit and declined to comment on it.
Harmar Solicitor Charles Means said, “Neither me or any township official have any comment on this because we haven't reviewed the lawsuit.”Harmar Supervisors Chairman Michael Hillery said the township has insurance and is reviewing the matter.
Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bronze flower vases stolen from Lower Burrell cemetery
- A-K Valley students offer Franklin Regional ‘strong’ support
- Leechburg adds 2 part-time police officers
- Experts: Cold weather requires A-K Valley residents to check gardens
- Burrell school board reviews security plan
- Agreement nears on Springdale police chief’s duties
- Arnold teen back home, but some A-K Valley missing-person cases decades old
- Cheswick fire truck to arrive in June
- Peregrine falcons hang around Tarentum Bridge
- Gilpin looks for supervisor, hires police consultant
- Youngest of 3 Hays eaglets eating as parents have provided a lot of food