Allentown, PA — Thanks to police officers who chose to violate rights instead of uphold them, taxpayers in Allentown, Pennsylvania will shell out $270,000 to a 4-foot 11-inch grandma whose only crime was demanding cops obey the law.
The incident unfolded on May 2, 2016 when Charlene Klein woke to the sound of cops banging on her door in the middle of the night. When she opened the door, she saw officer Stephen Madison and Christopher Hendricks standing on her porch with officer Michael Good and other police nearby, according to the lawsuit.
Madison asked Klein if her son was home and then asked if police could search her home. Klein, who knows her rights, then asked officers if they had a warrant to search her home or a warrant to arrest her son. According to the lawsuit, police replied that they had neither, so Klein told them that they could not come in and she began to close her screen door.
As the Morning Call reports, according to the lawsuit, Madison tried to keep Klein from closing the door, and when his finger got pinched, he ripped the door out of Klein’s hands. Madison grabbed Klein by the shoulders, violently pulling her outside, the suit alleges. Madison and Hendricks then lifted Klein with her arms behind her back and threw her onto the concrete wall between Klein’s and her neighbor’s property before handcuffing her, the lawsuit alleges.
After attacking the innocent grandma, injuring her in the process, police proceeded to violate her rights even further and search her home without the warrant.
According to the lawsuit, Klein was then kidnapped and brought to jail where she was held without medical treatment, despite her injuries which required surgery. Because officer Madison’s finger got pinched in the door to a home he and his cronies were attempting to illegally search, this grandma was charged with aggravated assault, according to the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, Klein’s charges were eventually dismissed. However, the alleged “investigation” conducted by the police department into Klein’s assault and mistreatment was little more than a cover-up for the brutal cops, according to the lawsuit.
None of the officers were disciplined for attacking the tiny grandma which, according to the lawsuit, highlights a failure of Allentown police supervisors to investigate misconduct by officers and punish those who break the law.
“The failure to do so results in police officers believing that their conduct will not be investigated and there will be no consequences for illegal conduct,” said attorney Robert Goldman, who represented Klein.
It took nearly three years for Klein to finally get justice. And, as the Morning Call reports, after a six-day trial and four hours of deliberations, jurors found officer Stephen Madison used excessive force in his arrest of Klein, according to Karoly and Goldman. Jurors also found Madison and officers Christopher Hendricks, Michael Good and Jacoby Glenny conducted an illegal search of Klein’s home, and failed to intervene to prevent the illegal search and use of excessive force, and conspired to violate Klein’s constitutional rights.
The jury also found that police denied the innocent grandma medical care after kidnapping her. They also found former police Chief Keith Morris failed to supervise the officers, that the city’s policies exhibited a deliberate indifference to residents’ constitutional rights and that the officers acted maliciously in violation of Klein’s constitutional rights.
“The jury verdict was loud and clear — it is essential that the Allentown Police Department reform its ways,” said Goldman. “They scrutinized the ways of its officers and said they don’t tolerate violations of citizens’ rights.”
While Klein’s case is certainly a victory, it highlights a serious problem with policing and the system which is seemingly designed to allow bad cops to escape accountability. We have a jury of her peers finding that multiple cops beat Klein up, kidnapped her, denied her medical care, and grossly violated her rights in the process, and not a single cop received so much as a slap on the wrist.
Instead of the cops being held accountable, the taxpayers were — thus continuing to enable bad cops and the cycle of oppression without accountability.