Greensburg man accuses city, officers of excessive force
A Greensburg man has sued the city and several police officers over alleged use of excessive force and violation of his civil rights from a 2010 traffic stop.
Edward Wisneski, 42, names officers Shawn Denning, Regina DePelligrin, Jason Dieter. Lt. Douglas Marcoz, Chief Walter “Wally” Lyons and former Capt. George Seranko as defendants in his suit in federal court in Pittsburgh.
He is seeking damages for mental anguish, loss of income, pain and suffering, and humiliation.
The city and police have denied Wisneski's claims in a response they filed to the complaint. Depositions are scheduled for September.
Wisneski alleges Denning punched him in the face for no reason during a vehicle stop on July 4, 2010. Wisneski claims he blocked a second punch.
DePelligrin then appeared and twice tasered him, according to the complaint.
Wisneski drove away to flee from the officers and was then pursued by Denning, DePelligrin, Marcoz and Dieter, according to the suit.
The four officers stopped Wisneski.
“All four defendant officers then attempted to physically drag and remove Wisneski from the vehicle, injuring him in the process because they would not remove his seat belt,” according to the complaint. “Defendant officers attempted to ‘drag' plaintiff Wisneski through an open and small window rather than attempt to open the door and allow … Wisneski to exit the vehicle.”
Wisneski said he suffered multiple scrapes, cuts and bruises and was bleeding from his face and nose.
“Wisneski sustained these injuries in his arrest despite the fact that he committed no violence and injured no one,” according to the suit written by attorney Robert Owsiany of Pittsburgh. “Defendant officers utilized unnecessary, excessive and brutal tactics in order to subdue nonviolent plaintiff Wisneski.”
Wisneski said Denning stopped him on March 14, 2010, and followed his vehicle at other times.
The Greensburg resident maintains that when he sought videos from the police cars, he was told “none of the cameras were working,” and no video was given to him, according to his complaint.
He is suing Lyons, Seranko, Marcoz and other unknown supervisors for not training their officers properly and “covering up” the misuse of excessive force.
Lyons denied Wisneski's claims on Friday.
“I don't know his motivations, but we're quite confident about how the officers handled the incident, that (their actions) were appropriate,” he said.
Denning stopped Wisneski for suspected drunken driving and was about to administer field tests, attorney Brian Gabriel of Pittsburgh states in the city's response.
Denning reached into Wisneski's vehicle to remove the keys after Wisneski attempted to restart his vehicle. Wisneski grabbed Denning, who freed himself and struck Wisneski on the left side of the face, according to the response.
DePelligrin tasered Wisneski after seeing Denning being pulled into the car, according to the response.
Wisneski then drove away with officers in pursuit. Marcoz was not near Wisneski's vehicle when the officer re-encountered him, the answer contends.
Wisneski's injuries did not result from excessive force, Gabriel said.
Police were in the process of installing cameras in cars when the incident occurred, and they were not operational yet, according to the answer.
Wisneski was sentenced to serve up to two years in prison after his conviction on charges of fleeing or eluding police, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest and driving under the influence, according to Westmoreland County Court records.
He appealed his case to state Superior Court, which backed the lower court's rulings. The state Supreme Court opted not to hear his case, according to court records.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 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.
- Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Community Chamber of Commerce to honor Arnie’s pal ‘Doc’
- Defense can see, not copy tape, Westmoreland County judge rules
- Belle Vernon girls showed signs of being abused, doctor testifies
- Videotaping suspect from Greensburg doesn’t show at hearing
- Trio holds up Penn couple at gunpoint in home
- St. Michael’s volunteers cook up festival delights
- Arnold man sentenced after sexual assault conviction
- 2 escape injury when plane slides into Westmoreland County airport
- New Stanton breaks ground on municipal building
- Yukon kennel founder jailed for allegedly threatening workers
- Reputed leader of motorcycle gang returned to Pa. to face charges