WARREN Cop's son, 4 others file a suit, allege force

By Peggy Sinkovich

Friday, August 15, 2003


The lawsuit is asking the federal court to bring in the Justice Department.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The son of a city police officer and four others say their constitutional rights were violated and excessive force was used when they were arrested two years ago.
Terrence Edington, son of officer Terrence J. Edington; Lea K. Dotson, Ferndale Avenue Southwest; Yu Juan U. Douglas, Belvedere Avenue Southeast; Garridan L. Matlock, Van Wye Street Southeast; and Willie Owens, Hazelwood Avenue Southeast, filed the suit Monday in U.S. District Court in Youngstown.
Police Chief John Mandopoulos, former police officer Charles List, Patrol Officer Jeff Miller, Patrol Officer Emmanuel Nites and other unnamed police officers are listed as defendants.
Mandopoulos, List, Miller and Nites could not be reached.
Law Director Greg Hicks said Monday he could not comment because he had not been served with a copy of the suit.
About the lawsuit
The suit says Dotson, 24, and several of her friends were at a bachelorette party Aug. 11, 2001, when police responded to disturbance call around 4 a.m.
Dotson and the others were arrested and assaulted by police, the suit says.
"We are asking that the federal court take a look at Warren and these allegations and ask the U.S. Justice Department to come in and investigate," said Atty. Richard Olivito, who filed the lawsuit.
The suit seeks $1 million or more for Owens, who is paralyzed, and an unspecified amount for the others.
"Officers List and Miller knocked Owens' crutches out from under him and commenced to beat and use excessive force against him, punching, kicking and kneeing him in the back," the lawsuit states.
Officers taunted Douglas and Edington when they were being taken to the police department, calling them "stupid niggers" who "needed to be beat," the suit states.
It notes officers did not know at the time Edington's father was a police officer.
What's cited
The suit cites a lack of training for the use of threats, intimidation, harassing techniques and the application of unwarranted and unnecessary and wanton use of excessive force.
Dotson admits biting Nites during the fight, but says in the suit it was in self-defense because Nites grabbed her from behind, punched her in the face and split her lip.
Dotson was indicted on a charge of felonious assault on an officer.
"Due to the extreme pressure and length of time, she eventually pled to a simple assault, a crime she simply did not commit," the lawsuit states.
This is the fourth lawsuit filed in the past few weeks against the police department. The other suits say illegal strip searches were performed on people during traffic stops.
sinkovich@vindy.com