ShareThis Page

Man files suit against police

| Monday, Jan. 22, 2001

A Cranberry man has filed a federal lawsuit against six police officers he says beat him and broke his right arm during an altercation and then purposely fractured his left wrist later while he was handcuffed to a hospital bed.

In his lawsuit, Paul Mosberger, of Franklin Road, says five Cranberry Township police officers and one Jackson Township officer beat him at his house during a call to the residence on Jan. 16, 1999.

Mosberger is seeking more than $50,000 in damages in the lawsuit, which was filed Jan. 12 in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh.

Three Cranberry officers named in the lawsuit, Sgt. Jeff Widdowson, John O'Shea and Mark Shields, also were injured during the scuffle.

Widdowson, who injured his thumb and aggravated a bad back, has retired on disability. O'Shea is on light duty because of an injured back, and Shields received a gash in his head that required stitches but has returned to active duty.

Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are Cranberry officers Bill Roberts and Jeffrey Schueler, Jackson Township officer Wayne Seibel and the townships of Cranberry and Jackson.

'We did a thorough investigation and are comfortable that we are not guilty,' said Steve Mannell, Cranberry's public safety director, who also is named in the lawsuit.

According to Mosberger's lawsuit, the Cranberry police officers and Jackson officer arrived at his residence at 1 a.m. and entered without permission. The officers tried to coax Mosberger down a flight of stairs, and when he would not come, the lawsuit states, Shields pulled his arm causing Mosberger to lose balance and fall into Shields and down the stairs.

After landing at the bottom of the steps, four officers got on Mosberger's back and handcuffed him. The lawsuit states the officers continued to hit Mosberger once he was handcuffed.

In an interview after the incident, Mannell said officers had done nothing wrong during the arrest of Mosberger.

Mannell described the incident as a 'very dangerous, imminent situation.'

Mannell said officers tried to arrest Mosberger on the steps of the home, but he resisted. In the process, Mannell said, three Cranberry officers and Mosberger were hurt.

First, Mosberger and Shields fell down the stairs, which was when Shields received a cut on his head that required stitches, Mannell said.

As the two men fell from the stairs, they knocked O'Shea down, and his shoulder was injured, Mannell said.

Then Widdowson's thumb was dislocated when he attempted to subdue Mosberger after the fall.

Mosberger has pleaded guilty to resisting arrest, Mannell said. He will be sentenced in late February.

Dominick DiRienzo can be reached at or (724) 779-7124.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.

click me