Can You Sue a Police Officer for Money for Violence During An Arrest ?

In Wiehagen v. Borough of North Braddock, 527 Pa. 517, 594 A.2d 303 (1991) a police officer struck an arrestee once when the arrestee attempted to strike him, knocking the arrestee to the ground. In the arrestee's civil rights suit in federal court, the jury awarded compensatory damages of $ 7500 plus attorney's fees and costs, finding that while acting in the scope of his duties the officer responded "instinctively" and used more force than was necessary. The issues involved were whether indemnification under Section 8548(a) applied to judgments other than those for state tort actions for which local agency immunity is waived under Section 8542 of the Judicial Code, as amended, 42 Pa. C.S. 8542, and whether indemnification applies to attorney's fees and costs. the Supreme Court affirmed this Court's determination that indemnification applies to any judgment that arises from conduct within the scope of an employee's employment, and it ruled also that indemnification includes reasonable attorney's fees, costs and expenses. No issue of "willful misconduct" was involved in the analysis. On the appeal in the indemnification proceeding, the Supreme Court noted that "willful misconduct" was not addressed in Wiehagen.