Woman sues over arrest, claims rights were violated
By R.A. Monti
Published: Saturday, May 4, 2013, 12:36 a.m.
A former East Vandergrift woman is suing the Vandergrift Police Department, claiming an officer violated her Constitutional rights during a 2010 arrest.
Loretta S. Sinka, now of Dime Road, Parks Township, claims that Sgt. Steven Callipare used excessive force when he arrested her on Oct. 10, 2010, according to the suit that was filed Wednesday in Westmoreland County Court. She claims her Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated as a result.
According to the lawsuit, police responded to a domestic dispute involving Sinka, her husband, Michael, and another man at her former home in East Vandergrift. The suit claims Michael Sinka was pointing a gun at Loretta Sinka and the other man.
The suit claims that Vandergrift police, possibly Sgt. Callipare, detained Loretta Sinka and “dragged” her into a police car. The suit also claims that when Sinka was taken to the Vandergrift Police Department she was “thrown into a cell causing her to hit her head on the cell and fall to the ground.”
According to the suit, Callipare picked Sinka up by her hair and threw her onto the jail's bench. The suit claims that Callipare shackled Sinka's arms to her legs, and then shackled her to the bench.
The suit says Callipare threatened to spray Sinka with a hose “if she didn't comply with his commands.”
According to court records, Loretta Sinka was charged with five crimes stemming from the incident, including aggravated assault, resisting arrest, possession of marijuana and disorderly conduct.
Michael Sinka was charged with aggravated assault, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Loretta Sinka's lawyer, Craig H. Alexander, said his client was convicted of one the charges against her, but couldn't say which one.
Court records show Loretta Sinka pleaded guilty to resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. The drug charges and the aggravated assault charge were dropped.
She was sentenced to a year of probation.
Alexander said the suit was filed in county court in order to stay within the statute of limitations, but he expects it will be transferred to federal court because of Sinka's claim that her constitutional rights were infringed.
Vandergrift Police Chief Joe Caporali said he couldn't comment on the lawsuit. Callipare did not return a phone call.
Mayor Lou Purificato said he could not comment because he didn't know enough facts about the suit yet. He referred all questions to the borough's lawyer, Larry Loperfito, who could not be reached for comment Thursday and Friday.
Alexander said his client doesn't have a specific dollar amount in mind that would make amends for her claim of pain and suffering.
R.A. Monti is a freelance writer.
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.
- Obama budget puts more money into nuclear cleanup, not locks and dams
- Printing delinquent tax list pays off for Highlands
- Rural Ridge residents question NRG’s plans for landfill
- Fields set for primary elections on May 20
- Allegheny Valley to decide on Colfax roof at March 18 meeting
- Classes cancelled Wednesday at Acmetonia Primary School
- Valley’s marina owners ready to repair ice-damaged docks
- Development involving former Heights Elementary to expand
- Fear of building collapse closes Tarentum road
- Tax delinquency’s impact varies in Valley
- 3 more charged in Harrison beating