Cheltenham Pennsylvania police lawsuit: Man sues after police for unjust charges

Pennsylvania personal injury news: Cheltenham Township police face lawsuit for excessive force and retaliation.

05/27/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks

Philadelphia, PA – A Glenside man filed a lawsuit against Cheltenham Township, police Chief John Morris and five police officers in April, 2010, claiming the Cheltenham police used excessive force, then maliciously prosecuted him after he complained of the incident to Internal Affairs, according to the Philadelphia Enquirer.

Francis Burke, 54, was arrested on the night of April 6, 2008, after his ex-wife called police to complain that Burke had been drinking and was blasting music from his truck in their driveway.

Police reported that when they arrived, Burke was belligerent and shouting obscenities. He was charged with disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.

Two days after his arrest, Burke filed a complaint with the police, claiming the cops had assaulted him at the station and forced him to remove all his clothes, including his underwear.

During an interview, Burke told reporters, “They took me by the back of my head and slammed it on the roof of the patrol car where the bar light is.” He also reported he suffered injuries after the officers threw him to the ground, punched him and kneed him in the head.

Police dismissed the complaint. Then they charged Burke with eight counts of unsworn falsification, filing a false report and other offenses.

Burke claims the charges were in retaliation to his complaint.

The judge who oversaw Burke’s second criminal case in March agreed. Judge Paul Tressler expressed dismay for the second round of charges, claiming they reeked of a cover-up aimed at preventing Burke from seeking civil damages. Tessler described Cheltenham Police Lt. John Salmon as a liar, explaining, “I don’t believe a word out of his mouth, and I am insulted that I have to say that about a police officer.”

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