$900K lawsuit against York City tossed

Christopher Dornblaser

A lawsuit in which a York City man was seeking $900,000 from the city, alleging he had been charged in a 2010 incident based on his race and interracial relationship with his girlfriend, was tossed by a district judge.

Horatio Roberson, 42, of York City, filed a lawsuit in December 2014, basing his claim off a 2010 incident in which he was charged and arrested by Officer Michael Ebersole, according to documents. The charges were later dropped, online court records indicate.

District Judge Yvette Kane dismissed the lawsuit on Sept. 30 and forbid Roberson from filing another complaint, according to court documents.

2010 incident: According to charging documents filed by York City Police at the time, about 7 p.m. Oct. 16, 2010, Roberson and his girlfriend had a confrontation with a man near Girard Park. Roberson's girlfriend then went back to their residence, and the confrontation then escalated to include their neighbors, police said at the time.

The neighbor alleged that Roberson's girlfriend had eventually gone to the front of their home with a machete, which she handed to Roberson, documents state. Police said Roberson began swinging at the neighbors and made contact with a woman's forearm with the machete, according to police. Police alleged at the time that Roberson chased another man across the street to the park and struck him with the machete. He was charged with three counts of harassment, two counts of simple assault and one count of terroristic threats, but the charges were later dismissed, according to online court records.

Claims: Roberson alleged malicious prosecution, saying that Ebersole "intentionally fabricated the appearance of probable cause to arrest Plaintiff" by disregarding exculpatory evidence and "fabricating police reports," according to the memorandum.

Roberson alleged that two neighbors and their friend filed private criminal complaints against him and his girlfriend, and that one neighbor had falsely reported being at a hospital, saying she was struck on her left arm with a machete, the memorandum states.

Kane wrote that Roberson's allegation does not defeat the existence of probable cause under the alleged circumstances. She said that the officer is not required to put "contradictory evidence into the affidavit."

Roberson also claimed that the city had failed to train its officers, stating that the city knew or should have known its officers lacked training on "particular racial tensions between City of York residents."

Kane wrote that Roberson did not allege a pattern of false arrests or selective prosecution, and that claim was dismissed.

The third allegation Roberson made was saying that York City had a "deliberate indifference in policy and customs."

Kane wrote that Roberson had not alleged sufficient facts to support that York City had a policy or custom that directly caused the constitutional issue.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.