Trial Involving Handcuffs Starts Monday for Two Somersworth, NH Police Officers
The trial in a lawsuit alleging two Somersworth police officers assaulted a man during an arrest is set to begin Monday in the United States District Court in Concord.
John DiCiccio, 47, claims Officer Matthew Duval’s alleged misuse of handcuffs left him with permanent nerve damage and that Sgt. Joe Geary failed to intervene when he witnessed the alleged excessive force, according to the lawsuit.
DiCiccio was arrested at his Main Street apartment and charged with reckless conduct, placing another in danger, criminal mischief, resisting arrest and simple assault on a police officer.
Dicicco’s lawsuit, prepared by Concord attorney Jared Bedrick, claims that the arrest happened after he had been drinking.
“DiCicco had been drinking and was verbally insulting officers during his time in custody, but never physically threatened anyone,” Bedrick wrote.
After he was brought to the police station for booking, DiCicco claims in the lawsuit he was left in a cell without a toilet. After shouting for a chance to use a toilet, DiCicco removed his clothes and urinated into a slot used for passing papers, according to the lawsuit.
When Duval and Geary became aware of the urination situation, Duval entered the cell and put handcuffs on DiCicco, the lawsuit states. The cuffs were never checked for tightness, not double-locked as is standard procedure, according to the lawsuit.
“For roughly the next six minutes, the handcuffs would remain compressing DiCicco’s ulnar nerve. During this time, (Geary) would watch as Duval moved DiCicco to a cell with a toilet and DiCicco cried out in pain complaining that the handcuffs were too tight,” the lawsuit states.
Duval then reportedly put DiCicco into a prone position on the floor in order to remove the handcuffs.
"While doing so, Duval placed his weight on DiCicco’s back and neck, risking positional asphyxia. DiCicco remained limp during this process and never gave any indication that such risk was necessary,” the lawsuit states.
DiCicco claims he was left with permanent nerve damage from the handcuffs. He’s seeking enhanced compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages.
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