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New Britain Herald - Man sues city, police for tearing out catheter

Posted on Sep 14 2008

NEW BRITAIN - A city man has filed a federal lawsuit against police, claiming they violated his civil rights when they roughed him up and tore his catheter out during a Feb. 28 search of his residence.

But the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on Sept. 3 and received by the City Clerk on Sept. 10, is also claiming the police violated his civil rights during their Jan. 30 investigation into a child molestation and pornography case alleged to have taken place upstairs from him.

Andrew Glover, 60, of 237 Washington St. has not been charged with any crime, but was questioned extensively about his connection with his upstairs neighbors, who have been accused of child molestation and pornography.

Glover told The Herald during a previous interview that he is the victim of guilt by association, and that he had shared computer files with his upstairs neighbors. Moreover, he said he got the feeling Detective Chris Chute and two other officers - named as defendants Officer John Doe 1 and Officer John Doe 2 - seemed convinced he was guilty.

Glover said in May that he had no knowledge of any child molestation or child pornography prior to the Jan. 30 arrest of Jeffrey Brisson, 29, and Harold Spurling, 39, who were charged with sexual assault and other crimes. They are accused of molesting children and making child pornography movies.

Both men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Glover admits he told police he shared computer files with the men, but that he never had any part of having sex with any children, let alone the baby girl police say was molested on film.

Police are investigating whether Brisson and Spurling were running a full-scale child pornography operation involving city children out of their second-floor Washington Street apartment. Police confirmed they found numerous images of city children they recognized on Brisson's computer and are determining if they were sexually assaulted or victimized as models for child pornography.

The men were arrested Jan. 30, after police served a warrant on charges of sexual assault on a boy, now 14, that had gone on since the boy was 6. When police arrived to serve the warrants, they discovered a 3-month-old girl in the apartment and Brisson's computer in the process of encrypting - or hiding - a video file.

Glover's lawsuit claims Glover agreed to go with the police to police headquarters on or around Jan. 30 to assist in the investigation of Brisson and Spurling.

During that interview, however, the lawsuit claims Glover was "restrained, threatened, subjected to continued mental and verbal abuse, and denied a right to counsel despite his repeated requests ..." Therefore the lawsuit is claiming police violated Glover's civil rights by "conducting a custodial interrogation of Glover after Glover requested the assistance of a lawyer ..., detaining him without reasonable suspicion, probable cause, a warrant, or exigent circumstances."

But that was only the beginning.

A month later, on the afternoon of Feb. 28, Glover was out having some medical procedure - it is not clear what treatment he received or for what condition he was being treated - only to return home to find "Detective Chris Chute, defendant Officer John Doe 1 and Officer John Doe 2 together with other police officers at his residence, and they ended up hurting him, according to the lawsuit.

The events are detailed as follows:

"The defendant officers informed [Glover] that for their safety, the plaintiff [Glover] would need to be searched." Glover agreed, but he "informed all who were present including the defendant officers that he had just had outpatient surgery, showed them his hospital bracelet, and indicated he was wearing a catheter and it was attached to a bag strapped to his leg," the lawsuit states. "Having full knowledge of this, the officers searched him in such a way as to pull down on the catheter and/or bag while pulling up on his body multiple times, causing the catheter to be dislodged from his bladder."

This caused him "excruciating pain and caused tearing and bleeding of his genitals."

No one came to his aid, nor did he receive medical attention, according to the lawsuit. "The plaintiff went to the bathroom and did his best to reseat the catheter as well as control and maintain the bleeding."

As a result of the way he and his catheter were treated, Glover suffered "substantial permanent physical disability." Moreover the incident is symptomatic of a larger problem in the department, Glover's lawsuit contends. The lawsuit to Police Chief William Gagliardi and unwritten policies and practices instituted by the chief.

Those policies include failure to properly screen, discipline, transfer, counsel, and/or otherwise control police officers engaged in the laws of interrogation, search and seizure, and the law of using unreasonable, unjustified and excessive force, the duty to intervene to protect and secure individual civil rights," and failure to properly train and supervise police officers in those laws, according to the lawsuit.

City officials did not comment on the case, and Gagliardi was out of state and could not be reached for comment. Ultimately the responsibility of the alleged mistreatment of Glover falls squarely on the shoulders of the city according to the last count of the lawsuit.

The defendants include the city, the chief of police, Chute, and the police officers who were with him when Glover was allegedly injured.

The case is assigned to District Judge Janet Bond Arterton, who sits in New Haven.

By RICK GUINNESS ,
Herald staff