normalnoises Posted May 8 Report Share Posted May 8 http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=11374138&BRD=1713&PAG=461&dept_id=24491&rfi=6Judge dismisses four charges, keeps excessive force in police brutality case Tim Grace 04/23/2004 PROVIDENCE -- Federal District Court Judge William Smith has thrown out three of four civil rights violation charges filed against a Lincoln police officer in connection with the arrest of an East Providence man. Jesse Ousley was 17 when, near midnight on August 29, 2000, he was arrested after an altercation with off-duty police Officer Kevin Harty. Ousley, who is gay, claimed Harty beat him savagely during a roadside brawl sparked when he stepped in front of Hartyâ€™s car.Ousley also alleges five members of the police department -- former Chief William Strain, Lt. Scott Vincenzi and officers Joseph Conti, Wayne Bouthillette and William Carnes -- plotted to cover up Hartyâ€™s actions by fabricating evidence, ignoring witness testimony and bringing trumped-up charges of assault and disorderly conduct against him.Before filing suit, Ousley offered to settle his case against the town for $1 million, but no cash damages are laid out in the federal suit."The facts, as presented to this court, simply do not rise to the level of a Fourth Amendment violation," Smith wrote in granting three of the townâ€™s four motions to dismiss. But one count, charging Harty had acted under color of law and used excessive force during the incident survived the townâ€™s motion to dismiss."This court believes that a reasonable fact finder could conclude that Harty was acting in his capacity as a police officer," Smith wrote. "There are simply too many issues of material fact in dispute to warrant summary judgment. All of the facts involving the onset of the altercation, as well as Hartyâ€™s attempt to subdue Ousley by force, his identification of himself to concerned bystanders as a police officer, and his efforts to contact the police are all relevant to the question of Hartyâ€™s status that evening, and all are disputed. Summary judgment as to Harty (Count I) is therefore denied."Both prosecution and defense have laid out their version of the facts in documents on file at the courthouse. On the night of Aug. 29, 2000, Ousley, then 17, was arguing with his 30-year-old boyfriend, Robert Halle, as the couple walked up Woodward Street towards Walker Street in Lincoln, according to the plaintiff's statement of facts.Both parties agree that at some point, Ousley walked out into the travel lanes on Walker.And just at that moment, Harty, who'd been at a golf tournament during the day and was coming from Gary's Pub in Cumberland, was driving down Walker towards the distraught teen.Harty stopped just inches from Ousley, and Ousley then "slapped" the hood of his car with both hands. The townâ€™s attorney, Marc DeSisto, claims Ousley said, "go ahead, hit me" after the near collision. But in the statement of facts presented by Ousleyâ€™s attorneys Robert and Therese Caron, Harty is said to have gotten out of his car and, after a brief exchange of words, punched Ousley in the face, knocking him to the ground.Harty went on to beat and choke the 115-pound Ousley until Halle managed to pull the two apart, according to the plaintiffâ€™s version of events. Harty claims it was Ousley who had attacked him, and that he had attempted to restrain Ousley in self-defense. Both sides agree Harty went back to his car and called police after the first attack. Harty claims he stayed at his car until police arrived a few minutes later, but Ousleyâ€™s attorneys say, after seeing Halle comforting his boyfriend at the side of the road, Harty came at Ousley again, cursing and referring to Ousleyâ€™s sexual orientation. Harty beat and repeatedly choked Ousley before Halle managed to separate the two, the attorneys said. Once freed, Ousley ran toward Hartyâ€™s car and kicked the door. Reacting to the kick, Harty chased Ousley to a nearby fence and beat him a third time, stopping only when he could hear police sirens in the distance, according to Ousley. At least three witnesses -- two neighbors and a motorist -- dialed 9-1-1, calling for police to break up the fight.Once police arrived at the scene, Ousley claims they ignored his injuries and refused to interview witnesses that described the second and third beatings. And, weeks later, after pressing police to investigate, Ousley was charged with assault, disorderly conduct and malicious mischief. During his Family Court trial, Ousley was found not to be wayward on the first two charges, but was convicted on the malicious mischief count for kicking Hartyâ€™s door. The judge in the family court case also found Hartyâ€™s version of events not to be credible, and stated it was Ousley who had been the victim during the altercation.The final charge will be set down for a trial date sometime in May according to Smithâ€™s decision. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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