Jury: Lewes police used justified force in Taser case

Police chief says past accounts flawed, embellished
October 4, 2012

A Milton man has lost his lawsuit against the City of Lewes and Lewes Police Department. A jury unanimously ruled against Chad Tylecki who alleged he is suffering permanent injuries stemming from a 2008 incident in which he was Tasered by police while he was shackled and handcuffed in a Beebe Medical Center examination room.

Lewes Police Chief Jeffrey Horvath, speaking about the lawsuit for the first time, said print and social media reports over the past two years have been "flawed and embellished."

"We thought it was best to try this case in the court and not the media therefore we refrained from commenting to this point," he wrote in an email. "The officers deserve to have this verdict announced with at least the same publicity that has accompanied Mr. Tylecki's allegations against them."

Tylecki’s three-day jury trial in U.S. District Court in Wilmington ended Sept. 26. He was seeking at least $500,000 in damages.

Calls for comments from Tylecki’s attorney, Patrick Geckle, and from Lewes’ attorney, Daniel A. Griffith, had not been returned by press time.

In court documents, Tylecki alleged Lewes Police Department Lt. James Azato failed to follow established policies and procedures and used his status as a police officer to exert excessive force. Court documents state Tylecki suffered seizures not long after he was Tasered and is now on medication to control a seizure disorder.

Tylecki’s suit contended during an arrest, officers threw him to the ground and pushed his head and face into the asphalt. According to court documents, he was taken to Beebe Medical Center for injuries, and Tasered while in an examination room.

Azato said the jury's verdict was consistent with facts shared by people who witnessed the situation.

"Those witnesses personally observed Mr. Tylecki's threatening behavior toward the officers and toward civilians, and we are grateful that the jury unanimously determined that the officers' conduct was appropriate," Azato wrote in an email.

Michael Brave, national litigation attorney for Taser International, said the plaintiff dropped his case against the company in June 2011.

Griffith argued there was no evidence of wrongdoing by his clients. He said because Tylecki was intoxicated, the incident unfolded as it did.

In January 2011, Griffith said Tylecki’s case was nothing more than an allegation and complaint. He said Geckle had not yet proven anything, nor would he be able to.

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