Springettsbury Township Police Chief Thomas Hyers said on Friday that three officers have been put on administrative desk duty pending the outcome of an investigation resulting from federal civil rights lawsuits filed against them on Thursday.
Hyers said in a news release that he has placed Cpl. Gregory Hadfield, and Patrolmen Chad Moyer and William Polizzotto, on administrative desk duty effective immediately.
Hyers also said he has asked York County District Attorney Thomas Kearney and Chief of York County Detectives Darryl Albright to conduct an investigation into the alleged incidents.
Hyers said he will address questions from the media about the allegations at a Tuesday morning press conference.
HARRISBURG, Pa -- A pair of federal civil rights lawsuits filed Thursday claim suburban York police officers beat two suspects in separate incidents - both partially captured on video - then made false reports to cover up the assaults.
Both cases involve allegations against Springettsbury Township Patrolman Chad Moyer, shown in the videos released by attorney Devon Jacob apparently punching a handcuffed woman and kneeing a man, leaving him with five broken ribs.
Other officers who allegedly took part in the assaults or who were supervisors are named in the lawsuit, along with the township and the police department.
"These officers behaved like criminals," Jacob said. "If the township does not remove them from the street and criminally prosecute them, the township is complicit in their conduct."
Chief Thomas Hyers said Thursday he was familiar with the incidents but had not seen the lawsuits.
"This is the first I've heard of this," Hyers said. "So therefore, if it's going to be pending litigations, I at least have to see the allegation before I comment anything about it."
A department official said as a matter of policy, the officers named in the lawsuits were not allowed to respond to media inquiries.
Steven Landis' complaint alleges Moyer and another officer did not get him medical treatment despite the serious injuries he sustained during his arrest last August.
The video depicts Moyer stopping Landis, a pedestrian, and then moving to take him into custody after learning there was a warrant for his arrest. Moyer tackled Landis, knocking out one of his hearing aids, and then was aided by co-defendant William Polizzotto Jr.
Landis, who is heard on the video telling the officers he has 80 percent hearing loss, alleges Moyer broke his ribs with his knee and Polizzotto twice used a stun gun on him.
In the affidavit filed when Moyer charged Landis with resisting arrest, he said Landis "failed to obey my commands."
"I then delivered a compliance strike to his left side using my right knee," Moyer wrote.
After that blow, Landis can be heard screaming in pain, and says, "That hurts."
"You're right, it does hurt," one of the officers replies.
Jacob said medical records show Landis suffered five broken ribs.
Landis, 57, "groaned in pain repeatedly" in the back seat of the police vehicle, but the two officers did not get help for him, the lawsuit said.
"In fact, defendants Moyer and Polizzotto discussed whether an ambulance should be summoned for Mr. Landis, and then one of them stated, 'Well actually, we'll let them deal with it because they can do checkups at lock up if they need to,'" the lawsuit said.
That is an apparent reference to the other police department, where a warrant was pending against Landis. Moyer turned Landis over to that department.
The complaint alleges that police reports filed by Moyer and Polizzotto were intentionally false, because they did not describe the level of force used to subdue him.
They charged Landis with resisting arrest, a case that is still pending in York County.
Landis claims he was arrested falsely and prosecuted maliciously, police used excessive force, he was denied medical care and police brass did not supervise the officers properly.
Debra Lynn Williams' lawsuit said that in April 2011 she was punched and grabbed by the neck, and alleges Moyer and another officer, Gregory Hadfield, filed false incident reports.
Williams' suit said Moyer and Hadfield had arrested her at a home outside York, and she was subdued with a stun gun. The video shows her kicking the inside of a police cruiser, after which two officers are seen apparently hitting and slapping her.
The 42-year-old woman was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. She pleaded guilty to simple assault, involving a victim inside the home and occurring before police arrived, and received two years' probation. The other charges were dropped.
Unlike Landis' case, the police dashboard camera video in the Williams incident did not have any sound.
She alleges police used excessive force and prosecuted her maliciously, that supervisors failed to properly investigate the incident and the government's policies, practices and customs "were the moving force" that led to her rights being violated.
The charging documents filed in her criminal case by Hadfield claim she spit in the officers' faces, and kicked Hadfield.
In that affidavit, Hadfield said he "struck her once in the left side of her face as she brought her knees up to kick again."
Both Williams and Landis are seeking damages, costs and legal fees.