The city has asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit of Luis A. Berrios 3d, a gay man who says Philadelphia police arrested him in a brutal and homophobic manner.
In December 2010, police were summoned to Berrios’ Hunting Park residence, where Berrios was involved in a domestic dispute with his then-boyfriend.
Rather than calming the situation, police allegedly hurled anti-LGBT slurs at the couple and used excessive force when arresting them, according to Berrios.
In 2012, Berrios filed suit against the city, two police officers and a detective — alleging false arrest, false imprisonment, assault and battery, malicious prosecution and other charges.
But last month, the city asked U.S. District Judge C. Darnell Jones 2d to dismiss Berrios’ suit as meritless.
Accompanying the city’s 22-page motion was a 59-page deposition given by Berrios, which provides more alleged details of the incident.
In his deposition, Berrios admitted being in a dispute with his boyfriend on the evening of Dec. 28, 2010. He said his boyfriend was very inebriated at the time.
Berrios said he had a neighbor summon police to calm the situation, but that he didn’t want his boyfriend arrested.
After police arrived and realized the men were involved romantically, they reacted brutally to the couple, according to Berrios’ deposition.
“They started hitting [my boyfriend] in the living room and they dragged him out,” Berrios said. “It went from zero to 100 so fast.”
Outside, officers allegedly threw Berrios’ boyfriend into the snow.
“Three officers were hitting him with batons,” Berrios said. “It just went so epically wrong.”
Berrios added, “I was scared to see my boyfriend getting beat up by the cops. This is not why they were called.”
Berrios went outside to see what he could do to help his boyfriend, he said.
While his boyfriend was prostrate in the snow, “one cop had his knee on [my boyfriend’s] back. The other cop was stepping on his ankles,” Berrios said.
Berrios said an officer directed him to keep his hands still, even though he has a habit of moving them while talking.
“Put your hands against the fucking wall, faggot,” the officer allegedly told Berrios.
Then the officer grabbed Berrios and dragged him to a police vehicle, where he was handcuffed in a painful manner, according to Berrios.
When Berrios told an officer, “You’re hurting my wrist, dog,” the officer allegedly replied, “I’m not your fucking dog.”
Berrios said the officer evidently used a baton to twist the handcuffs in a forceful manner behind his back.
Then, the officer allegedly said, “Let me hear you squeal, you fucking faggot.”
“I told him I had a dislocated wrist,” Berrios added. “He told me if I don’t shut the fuck up I’m going to have a broken wrist.”
Berrios said the pain was so unbearable, “I banged my own head in the windshield [of a police vehicle] to try to knock myself out.”
When officers placed Berrios’ boyfriend in a police vehicle, they tried to shut the door on his legs, which were still outside of the vehicle, Berrios added.
While being transported to the 25th Police District, Berrios asked one of the officers if he had a problem with gay people. The officer allegedly replied, “Shut the fuck up.”
At the district, a police officer spoke about Berrios’ boyfriend in a disparaging manner and tried to induce Berrios to press charges against him, Berrios said.
“I’m not pressing charges on [my boyfriend],” Berrios replied, according to his deposition.
Berrios was charged with simple assault, reckless endangerment and possessing an instrument of crime. But all of the charges were eventually withdrawn, according to court records.
The traumatic effects of the experience linger to this day, Berrios said.
“I slept with a knife for about nine months, thinking [police] were going to come back,” he said.
Months later, Berrios saw one of the officers exit a police vehicle to handle an unrelated incident at Fifth and Wyoming streets.
“When he got out of the car, I pissed my pants and had to walk home like that,” Berrios said.
Berrios, 31, said he avoids being in the presence of police whenever possible.
“I go on the train, a cop comes on, I get off,” Berrios said. “I don’t walk through City Hall, I walk around City Hall.”
Berrios’ Hunting Park residence has been robbed four times. But he only called 911 on one of those occasions, due to his prior experience with police, he saw.
His neighbor was with him as a support person when he called 911, he said.
Efforts to settle the case have been unavailing, and Berrios is seeking a jury trial, according to court records.
As of presstime, Jones hadn’t ruled on the city’s request to dismiss the case.
From our media partner PGN