PEABODY — A civil lawsuit accusing Peabody police of using excessive force while arresting a teenager at the McDonald's in downtown Peabody 3 1/2 years ago is scheduled to go to trial in October.
Tyler Leger-Broskey of North Reading alleges in the suit, filed last year in U.S. District Court in Boston, that he now suffers seizures as a result of a head injury he received when a Peabody patrolman, David McGovern, threw him to the floor of a men's room and punched him repeatedly. Leger-Broskey was 16 when the incident occurred on March 28, 2015.
The suit goes on to allege that Patrolman Antonio Santos and Sgt. James Harkins were also in the men's room during the incident. The suit alleges that McGovern deliberately sprayed the teenager with pepper spray after refusing the boy's request to simply arrest him, allegedly saying, "It's too late for that."
The officers offered a different account. In a pretrial memorandum filed last month, the officers say that after responding to a call from a restaurant about Leger-Broskey and another teenager smoking marijuana in the bathroom, they confiscated the boys' marijuana and told them not to return.
The officers were called back to the restaurant when the boys returned about 10 minutes later. McGovern, according to the city's attorneys, attempted to arrest Leger-Broskey on a trespassing charge, but he resisted, grabbed the officer and pulled them both to the floor.
McGovern, the city says, used the pepper spray only after several warnings to stop resisting, the city says.
Leger-Broskey, represented by Chicago lawyer Mark Loevy-Reyes, had initially sued a total of five officers, but Judge William Young dismissed claims against Scott Paszkowski and Robert Waugh. Young also threw out multiple counts in the original lawsuit, including false arrest, malicious prosecution, conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Leger-Broskey was charged after the incident with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, trespassing and assault and battery on a police officer. The suit says the charges, which would have been filed in Juvenile Court, were ultimately dismissed.
The pretrial memorandum indicates that the city and Leger-Broskey's lawyers are still in dispute as to whether the city will be allowed to call a medical expert in the case.
Leger-Broskey's lawyers are also objecting to a plan by the city to call several Salem police officers as witnesses.
Those officers were involved in the investigation and response to a hit-and-run crash on Route 114 in Salem several months after the McDonald's incident, in which Leger-Broskey and another teenager were involved. The car the teenagers were in was found on Route 114 in Peabody a few minutes after the June 2015 crash.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.