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Man claims police brutality in lawsuit

Paul Peirce
| Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2005

A Somerset County man alleges in a federal lawsuit that he was roughed up by a Somerset Borough policeman while he was being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol in 2003.

Charles Shaulis, of 188 Missouri St., Somerset, claims borough Patrolman Aaron Fulton threw him off the front porch of Shaulis' residence during the arrest in the early morning of Aug. 13, 2003.

Court documents allege that Fulton followed Shaulis to his home in a borough patrol car with its lights off. Shaulis said he parked his car and was about to open the door to his residence when Fulton stopped him on the porch.

Shaulis alleges Fulton informed him that he was being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, and grabbed Shaulis' arm and threw him off the porch.

According to the lawsuit, Shaulis landed face down on the ground after being tossed off the 4-foot-high porch. Shaulis alleges he suffered permanent injuries to his right arm and shoulder when Fulton then jumped on top of him.

The lawsuit claims Shaulis was treated at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Pittsburgh for his injuries. He claims he continues to suffer pain and discomfort.

Shaulis alleges that the actions of Fulton were "willful, reckless, outrageous and undertaken in reckless disregard of the rights and interest of Shaulis" and violated his civil rights.

The lawsuit filed by attorney Mark S. Zearfaus, of Altoona, seeks unspecified damages.

According to records at the Clerk of Courts Office, Shaulis was never convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol after his 2003 arrest by Fulton.

Attempts to reach Somerset police Chief Randy Cox for comment on the lawsuit were unsuccessful.

In addition to Fulton and the police department, the borough is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, which was assigned to federal Judge Kim R. Gibson in U.S. District Court in Johnstown.

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