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Man files civil rights lawsuit against Gettysburg over 2015 traffic stop

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jan 25, 2017 6:39 AM
derek_twyman.jpg

Photo by Ben Allen/WITF

Derek Twyman, who was Tased by a Gettysburg police officer in a 2015 traffic stop. Twyman is now suing the borough and officer for using excessive force and providing poor training and supervision.

(Gettysburg) -- A man who was tased during a traffic stop in 2015 is suing a midstate borough.

Derek Twyman's lawyer alleges Gettysburg police used excessive force, denied him due process, and failed to supervise an officer who had accumulated 15 citizen complaints in 10 years.

Body camera footage from a 2015 traffic stop shows Officer Christopher Folster ordering Derek Twyman to get out of his car.

Then, he deploys his Taser when Twyman asks Folster to get another officer as backup.

Twyman's lawyer Devon Jacob says the officer's decision was against the law.

"If municipalities continue to operate on the cheap figuring hey this doesn't cost us anything, we might as well keep doing what we're doing and we're all enjoying our jobs and the notoriety that it comes with, the power that it comes with, we have problems. Citizens deserve proper policing," says Jacob.

In his lawsuit against the borough, Folster, Gettysburg's police chief, and others, Jacob argues supervisors should have seen the complaints against Folster and trained him properly.

Folster charged Twyman with resisting arrest, while body camera footage showed the man in his car during the stop, keeping his hands in sight.

"The laws govern the conduct, but it's on both sides of that wall. So, on the one hand, Derek has the law that he needs to comply with, but so does the police officer. And when there's a break down of the law on either side of the wall, that's when we have problems," says Jacob.

Jacob is seeking damages and changes at Gettysburg's police department.

Jacob says on top of his federal civil rights lawsuit, he wants the state Attorney General to investigate Folster (who is no longer with the department) for making a false report.

Gettysburg Borough says it will not comment, and attorneys for the defendents didn't respond to requests for comment. Gettysburg College says until it has time to review the lawsuit in detail, it won't be commenting.

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