Ex-Phily Cops Loses Civil Rights Trial

Source: Julie Shaw / Philly.com

A FEDERAL JURY in a civil case yesterday found that two police officers did not violate an ex-cop’s constitutional rights and cause him harm when they stopped and frisked him in 2013 and did not use unreasonable force.

But the ruling in favor of Officers David O’Connor, 31, and Brad Momme, 29, and against plaintiff Herbert Spellman, 51, raised some confusion because jurors on their verdict sheet also found that the cops acted “maliciously or wantonly in violating Mr. Spellman’s federally protected rights,” and imposed $10,000 in punitive damages against each cop.

The jury questionnaire had instructed jurors not to proceed to the “maliciously or wantonly” question and not to consider damages if they answered “no” to the first two questions.

But the panel, contrary to its instructions, answered that question and imposed damages.

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