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Ohio man violently arrested outside PPG Paints Arena sues Pittsburgh officers, chief

April 18, 2018 GMT

An Ohio man whose violent arrest outside PPG Paints Arena was caught on video in September on Tuesday sued four Pittsburgh police officers and Police Chief Scott Schubert.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County by Daniel Adelman and his wife Jennifer Adelman, names Schubert, as well as officers Andrew Jacobs, Todd Modena, Brian Markus, Robert Palivoda, and Aramark Sports and Entertainment Services LLC as defendants.

Aramark is included as a defendant for serving alcohol to Adelman inside the arena even though he was “visibly intoxicated,” the complaint says.

The city declined comment on the lawsuit because officials have not yet reviewed it, said Chris Togneri, Pittsburgh Public Safety spokesman.

The video, which went viral on Facebook after a bystander posted it, appears to show Adelman, of Ravenna, Ohio, on his hands and knees, while an officer kneels over him throwing multiple punches then slamming his head against the ground.

One officer yells for the man to stop resisting, and one yells for another to deploy his department-issued Taser.

The Adelmans were at a Roger Waters concert on Sept. 19 when Daniel Adelman stepped outside to have a cigarette when he saw one man on top of another in an apparent fight, the complaint says. Neither of them were wearing police uniforms.

Adelman walked over and grabbed the larger man off the smaller man and shoved him to the side to break up the fight, according to the complaint.

Pittsburgh police later said police were taking the man, who was wanted on a warrant out of Butler County on forgery charges, into custody when Adelman interfered.

Then, uniformed officers approached and yelled “police freeze,” Adelman stopped and the larger man who Adelman had shoved aside took him down to the ground and started punching him, the complaint said.

Adelman grabbed his wrist and said “no more punches,” so the officer started slamming Adelman’s head down on the pavement repeatedly, the complaint said.

Adelman was hospitalized and then taken to the Allegheny County Jail. He was charged with public drunkenness, resisting arrest, obstructing administrative law. The charges were withdrawn in November.

As a result of the beating, Adelman has suffered from a dislocated shoulder, headaches, and has needed stiches, the complaint said.

The complaint claims battery, a policy of tolerance of excessive force, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and false arrest.

The complaint says the incident shows the police department either does not have policies or does not follow their policies regarding excessive force, which is tolerated by leadership.

Since 2010, the city has paid more than $10 million in settlements related to civil rights lawsuits, the complaint says.

The police policy in place at the time of the arrest “does not de-escalate situations but in fact escalates them,” the complaint says

Jacobs, who appears to be shown in the video as the one repeatedly punching Adelman, was placed on desk duty the day after the incident.

“Our police officers are trained to de-escalate situations. This is part of the protocol of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. We have zero tolerance for deviation to that standard,” a press release from Mayor Bill Peduto’s office said at the time.

Togneri declined comment when asked whether Jacobs was still on desk duty.

All four officers are still employed by the city, said Tim McNulty, Peduto spokesman.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669, tclift@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tclift.