Man says police used excessive force in arresting daughter at roller rink

September 09, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

The father of a Glen Burnie girl yesterday filed suit in state and federal court alleging that an Anne Arundel County police officer used excessive force while arresting his daughter at a roller rink in January.

In the suit, William J. Murdico of Gatewater Court alleges that during the arrest Detective Themistocles Bathras threw his 16-year-old daughter, Kelly, to the ground with such force she required hospital treatment.

The girl, who has since turned 17, was treated at St. Agnes Hospital for a dislocated shoulder, a broken wrist, a twisted ankle, an injured knee and torn ligaments in her legs that put her in a wheelchair for several weeks, according to her lawyer, E. Thomas Maxwell Jr.

"This girl was severely injured, to the point that she missed a lot of school because of this," he said.

The suit seeks $1.5 million in Anne Arundel Circuit Court and $1 million in U.S. District Court.

According to the suits, Ms. Murdico was at the Pasadena Roller Skating Center on Jan. 7 when she complained of a headache and went to the restroom with three friends around 8:30 p.m.

During a disturbance in the restroom, Detective Bathras came in and asked Ms. Murdico and one of her friends to go to the rink's office, the suit alleges. It does not specify the cause of the disturbance.

Once in the office, Detective Bathras, who was moonlighting as a rink security guard, "began to verbally chastise" Kelly, the suit says. He twisted her arm, threw her to the ground and "jumped on her, and handcuffed her, all the while using excessive force," the suit alleges. Mr. Maxwell said Detective Bathras charged the hTC girl with resisting arrest. The charges were dropped in juvenile court proceedings.

The federal suit names the Anne Arundel County Police Department as a defendant and alleges that Detective Bathras violated the girl's civil rights.

The Circuit Court suit is based on claims of excessive force and assault. It specifies that the detective is being sued individually.

The rink and its owners, Vera Kane and her husband, Ronald Kane, both of Pasadena, are also named as defendants in the Circuit Court suit.

Detective Bathras did not return phone calls yesterday. Mrs. Kane denied the allegations.

"It definitely was not excessive force; the girl was fighting with

the officer at the time," she said.

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