Plaintiff expands federal suit involving former Dewey officer

Amended complaint adds three counts against police chief for 2019 incident
August 20, 2021

Lawyers representing a man suing a former Dewey Beach police officer for using excessive force filed an amended complaint Aug. 5, with three counts added against Police Chief Sam Mackert for the August 2019 incident.

Originally filed July 15 in U.S. District Court in Delaware by attorney Patrick Gallager on behalf of Mark Taylor, the federal lawsuit states that former officer Gregory Lynch punched Taylor repeatedly in the face while he was being evaluated by an ambulance crew on a stretcher after suffering a head injury. 

Lynch filed a sworn affidavit that Taylor had tried to strangle him, the lawsuit states. Taylor was incarcerated from Aug. 10 to 12, 2019, and charged with strangulation and offensive touching; all charges against Taylor were later dismissed or not prosecuted. 

The suit states that Mackert and the town condoned previous instances of excessive force used by police, especially Lynch. The suit details excessive force cases against Lynch in 2011 and 2014, and against the town in 2004, 2012, 2013 and 2019.

The amended complaint states that Mackert is a friend of Lynch’s father and ignored concerns about Lynch, including that he is narcissistic and manipulative, that he was abusive to his first two wives and his children, that he demonstrated racist and homophobic views by posting online comments and by decorating his vehicle, and that he was was allegedly written up multiple times while an officer.

Mackert ignored Lynch’s behaviors, the lawsuit states, and “failed to adequately train, supervise and/or discipline Lynch when Lynch was sued twice for utilizing excessive force and engaging in other constitutional deprivations,” thus endangering citizens and visitors of the town.

The amended complaint also references the 2019 organizational analysis of the Dewey Beach Police Department, which found the department was understaffed, undertrained, underpaid, suffered from low morale and was operating under “a desire to not engage in stricter discipline or corrective action.”

The now 16-count lawsuit includes 12 counts against Lynch, one against a police officer identified as Jane Doe, one against the Town of Dewey Beach and Mackert in his official capacity, and two against Mackert as an individual. 

The 12 counts against Lynch are excessive force, unlawful detention and arrest/false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, wanton negligence, abuse of process, abuse of process constitutional, malicious prosecution, false arrest, assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment.

The count against Jane Doe is failure to intervene, the count against the town and Mackert is Monell liability, and the counts against Mackert are 1983 liability and wanton negligence/willful malicious intent.

Town officials referred questions on the amended complaint to attorney Emily Silverstein; she could not be reached for comment. 

Lynch was also indicted by a grand jury in November 2019 and charged with second-degree assault, second-degree perjury and official misconduct in relation to the August 2019 incident. 

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