Man drops lawsuit against York City Police for parking-garage encounter

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A Springettsbury Township man who sued York City Police after they arrested him on the roof of a parking garage has withdrawn his federal lawsuit against the department and its officers, according to court records.

The attorney for Mathew D. Bair and an attorney representing York City as well as several former and current police officers signed a stipulation that was filed April 2 in Harrisburg's federal court, according to court records.

The stipulation of voluntary dismissal states that both sides agree Bair "voluntarily withdraws with prejudice any and all claims asserted against all defendants" in the case.

The legal term "with prejudice" means he can't refile his lawsuit.

York City solicitor Don Hoyt said he doesn't believe Bair had a case.

"Obviously we feel this suit should never have been brought," he said. "The officer did what he ... was allowed to do under the law."

Hoyt declined to speculate as to why Bair agreed to withdraw his lawsuit with prejudice.

Bair's civil attorney, Tom Kelley, did not return a message seeking comment.

Hoyt and attorney John P. Gonzales represented York City, Officer Daniel Craven, Sgt. Matthew Irvin, former Chief Wes Kahley and an unnamed officer. A fifth officer named in the lawsuit, Alex Sable, died May 9, 2018, several days after having a heart attack during a law-enforcement training session.

Bair, 29, filed suit in federal court on May 3, 2018, which was about two years after his arrest was recorded on video by one of his friends.

The lawsuit had stated that Bair spent 90 days in York County Prison after being charged with resisting arrest.

The criminal charges against him were eventually dropped and he pleaded no contest to the summary violation of disorderly conduct/using obscene language, according to court records. He was fined $300 and sentenced to perform 25 hours of community service, records state.

The background: Bair was arrested by York City Police after he was found yelling from the top deck of the parking garage at 101 W. Philadelphia St. about 8:30 p.m. May 20, 2016, according to court documents.

Police say Officer Daniel Craven had to fight to arrest Mathew Bair Friday night.

The video of Bair's arrest, taken by his friend, was posted on Facebook not long after the incident. The video showed an officer getting into a physical confrontation with Bair.

According to police, Bair and another man were leaning over the wall, yelling profanities and waving their arms. When Craven reached the top of the garage, the two men were sitting in their cars.

When Craven asked them what they were doing, they said, "It's a free country," officials said. Craven told them there were families trying to eat outside the White Rose restaurant, which is across the street from the parking garage.

According to documents, Craven told them he was investigating a disorderly conduct incident and asked for their identification. One man provided his, but Bair refused, according to police.

"Get your f—ing hand off my door," Bair told Craven, officials said.

Name, badge number? After refusing a second time to give police his ID, Bair asked for Craven's name and badge number and told Craven he was nothing without his gun, charging documents states.

Craven asked Bair to exit his vehicle, which he did not, so Craven opened the car door and ordered him out, documents state.

Police said Bair responded with profanity and lurched toward Craven in an aggressive, threatening manner.

According to the lawsuit, Craven informed Bair that he had a choice: Provide his identification to police or be arrested when backup arrived. Irvin, Sable and the unnamed officer arrived, after which Craven told Bair that he was under arrest, the lawsuit states.

Craven handcuffed Bair, and another officer took Bair to the county's central booking unit to be arraigned on criminal charges.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.