South Side man sues city and five police officers, alleging excessive force

By Peter H. Milliken


A South Side man has sued the city and five of its police officers, alleging that they used excessive force in apprehending him in a traffic stop near his residence.

The city law director said the police acted properly and the city expects to prevail in court.

Edward Bratton, 59, of West Chalmers Avenue, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. The suit, which seeks more than $725,000 in damages and demands a jury trial, is assigned to Judge Maureen A. Sweeney.

Besides the city, the lawsuit names as defendants police officers Russell Davis, Richard Baldwin, Nicholas Bailey, David Wilson and Jeffrey Roberts.

In his lawsuit, Bratton said police tried to stop him as he rode his bicycle with his dog following alongside at Warren Avenue and Hillman Street at 9 a.m. Jan. 31, 2012.

Police followed him home, grabbed him from his bicycle and tackled him, and one officer drew his gun and pointed it at Bratton’s chest, the suit alleges.

Police slammed his head and pushed his face into the ground before handcuffing him behind his back and placing him in a holding cell for more than five hours, the suit says.

Bratton “had to undergo intensive medical treatment” for face, back and shoulder injuries “and continues to suffer excruciating physical pain and emotional distress” as a result of the confrontation, the suit alleges.

In his report of Bratton’s arrest, Davis said he pulled his cruiser alongside Bratton and told him he intended to cite him for not having the dog on a leash.

Bratton turned around, ignored multiple police orders to stop, and resisted arrest before being subdued, the report said.

Bratton suffered a minor cut on his nose and was evaluated by an ambulance crew at the arrest scene and later by a jail nurse.

Appearing before Judge Elizabeth Kobly of Youngstown Municipal Court, Bratton pleaded no contest to violating the leash law and obstructing official business and was fined $200 and put on six months’ probation.

“It’s been investigated. The officers acted appropriately, and we expect to prevail,” said Anthony Farris, city law director.

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