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WARREN Alleging abuse, Youngstown man sues police officer

Published: Wed, June 13, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.

Police records say the plaintiff charged the officer after running into traffic wearing only underwear.

YOUNGSTOWN -- A Warren police officer is being sued in federal court, accused of using excessive force against a Youngstown man.

An attorney for Hans D'Agastino of Meridian Road filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Youngstown, seeking more than $3 million in damages.

The case has been assigned to Judge James S. Gwin in Cleveland.

Named defendants are the city, its police department and officer Richard Kovach. The lawsuit says Kovach arrested D'Agastino on June 14, 2000 at East Market Street and Logan Avenue in Warren.

What happened: A motorist told police he was driving in the area that day, when an intoxicated D'Agastino ran out in front of his car, wearing only underwear, trying to hit the vehicle's window.

The motorist swerved to avoid D'Agastino and called police.

When Kovach arrived, D'Agastino charged. Kovach ordered him to stop and when he did not, the officer hit him with his night stick, police reports say.

The lawsuit says D'Agastino was "unlawfully attacked and abused and victimized by excessive and unreasonable force, resulting in severe mental, emotional and physical injuries," including fractures, facial lacerations and a blood clot in his head.

Law director Greg Hicks would not comment, saying he had not seen the lawsuit. D'Agastino's attorney, Gregg Rossi, was unavailable.

The lawsuit says D'Agastino has incurred medical bills in excess of $40,000, and has undergone emergency surgeries. It did not say why the surgeries were performed.

D'Agastino is asking for a jury trial.


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