Schenectady County

Schenectady police face abuse suit from Union student

The Union College student whose face was seen bloodied after his arrest during last year’s rowdy cel
Schenectady police arrest Broderick Shea while Union College students celebrate on Union Avenue in Schenectady after watching the college's men's hockey team win the NCAA Division I championship on Saturday, April 12, 2014.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Schenectady police arrest Broderick Shea while Union College students celebrate on Union Avenue in Schenectady after watching the college's men's hockey team win the NCAA Division I championship on Saturday, April 12, 2014.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

The Union College student whose face was seen bloodied after his arrest during last year’s rowdy celebration of the school’s national hockey championship has formally filed a lawsuit against the city.

The suit filed by Broderick Shea includes new details of his allegations against police, including that he was shoved and tackled from behind by police after committing no crime and posing no threat to others.

He also contends his facial injury was caused when an officer grabbed him “by the head and hair and violently smashed his face into the concrete pavement,” the lawsuit reads.

“Plaintiff suffered physical injuries, including the after effects from the concussion, among them anxiety, depression and difficulty focusing,” the suit reads. “He also suffered emotional injury from being branded a criminal who, according to the charges of the police, had ‘incited a riot,’ a blatant lie.”

Shea, then 20, was arrested during the April 12, 2014 celebration and charged with inciting to riot and menacing, misdemeanors, as well as disorderly conduct, a violation. The case ended in an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, according to court records. He made no admissions, and the case was set to be dismissed if he stayed out of trouble for six months.

He was one of five students arrested as a result of the celebration after Union’s men’s hockey team won the NCAA Division I championship. The other four admitted to disorderly conduct, a violation-level offense.

Shea’s suit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Albany, according to his attorney, James Knox. Named as defendants are a Schenectady police officer identified as “K. Figueroa” and as many as 10 unidentified city officers.

Schenectady Corporation Counsel Carl Falotico declined to comment on the suit Friday.

Shea first filed notice with the city of his intent to sue last month, claiming false arrest, illegal imprisonment and excessive force. The lawsuit includes those claims, as well as a separate one alleging he was denied his mandated phone call for hours after his arrest.

The filing lists no specific dollar figure for damages sought.

Shea contends his injuries and the effects of what he contends were illegal police actions led him to ultimately withdrawing from school.

Shea’s arrest was highlighted as photographers, including one from The Gazette, captured his bloody face after his arrest.

Shea’s suit describes his account of his arrest and detainment as follows:

Shea was in the driveway of his home on Union Avenue, across the street from the Union campus, celebrating with other students. His interaction with police began as officers shoved him and tackled him from behind, “slamming him to the ground.” One officer ended up on top of Shea, while another smashed his face to the concrete.

Shea sustained a cut to his skull that required 21 stitches and plastic surgery to close. He also sustained a concussion.

He was arrested, but not told the reason for his arrest or read his rights. He was then marched through bystanders and in front of news media with blood streaming down his face, subjecting him to “ongoing public scorn and humiliation.”

“Even though he did nothing wrong, the Internet coverage and comments will not go away, and they will affect the rest of his life,” the suit reads.

Police refused to give him any indication why he was arrested then or as he waited for his arraignment the next morning.

Shea contends he was denied proper medical treatment. An hour after his arrest, he alleges he was given only a “role of dirty toilet paper” to stem the bleeding. As he was being processed at the station, he alleges he heard an officer call him a “long-haired faggot.”

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