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Man sues Schenectady police for $10M over 'excessive force'

Man sues Schenectady police for $10M over 'excessive force'

Plaintiff also claims he was wrongfully arrested
Man sues Schenectady police for $10M over 'excessive force'
Schenectady police cruisers.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

SCHENECTADY -- A city resident has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the Schenectady Police Department, claiming police used excessive force when he was wrongfully arrested.

The lawsuit was filed by Michael Fisher in Schenectady County Court earlier this month. It claims police officers inflicted several injuries during Fisher’s arrest due to officers’ “negligence, carelessness and other breach of duty on the part of the City of Schenectady.”

Those injuries included broken bones, bruising, contusions and scrapes, according to the lawsuit. It also states Fisher suffered lost wages and other financial losses due to his injuries.

The lawsuit does not detail exactly how police officers caused the injuries, other than describing their actions as “an inappropriate and unreasonable amount of physical force and other improper measures.”

A call seeking comment from Fisher’s attorney, Latham-based Lance Hartwich, was not returned.

The lawsuit stems from Fisher’s arrest in February 2017. According to the police report included in court records, police responded to a call from Fisher’s neighbors -- whose names are redacted from the police report -- claiming he was “heavily intoxicated” and causing a ruckus at his apartment complex.

One neighbor said he was banging on her apartment door, and then also “causing a loud noise” by stomping on his apartment floor, which is directly above her apartment.

Another neighbor said Fisher had a verbal argument with his wife after she confronted him about the noise he was making, saying he was “very belligerent,” and, “highly confrontational.”

According to the police report, when officers arrived, Fisher was “belligerent and uncooperative” with the officers, though they said Fisher did admit to stomping on his floor in an attempt to annoy his neighbor. Police reported Fisher continued to use “abusive and obscene language” while in the presence of other residents.

Fisher was warned that if he didn’t quiet down, he would be arrested for disorderly conduct, according to the police report. But as police were walking away from Fisher, he continued to use “obscene and offensive language,” according to the report.

When the officers tried to arrest him, that’s when they said he tried to run up the staircase to his apartment. The report states officers were able to place Fisher in custody “after a brief struggle,” which included the use of pepper spray.

Fisher was taken to the Police Department, after he was treated for “minor injuries,” according to the police report. He was later charged with disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.

It was unclear how Fisher’s case was resolved.

Sgt. Matt Dearing, spokesman for the police department, referred all questions regarding the lawsuit to city Corporation Counsel Carl Falotico, who did not return a call seeking comment.

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