State Troopers at Logan Airport Face Lawsuit over Alleged “False” Arrest and “Malicious” Charge
BOSTON/South Boston - At least one Massachusetts State Trooper is being sued by a California man following his arrest at Logan Airport in 2011.
Jason Cabot, with an address in San Francisco alleges that Trooper William Lewis and other unidentified troopers wrongfully arrested him shortly after he arrived in Boston on a flight from the west coast.
In a complaint filed at the US District Court in Boston on August 9, Cabot alleges that he “was rudely accosted by an unknown state police trooper,” while loading luggage into his vehicle driven by his friend at around 1 am on August 8, 2011.
Along with his friend, identified as Maksim Sigal, Cabot drove to the State Trooper’s F barracks at the airport to report the alleged incident, which is not detailed in the complaint.
The complaint claims that Cabot entered the barracks alone, while Sigal waited outside in the car with Cabot’s dog, and was told by a trooper at the reception to wait.
While waiting in the lobby, Cabot received a call from Sigal who asked how long the wait would take.
Trooper Lewis, who entered from outside asked Cabot in an allegedly “extremely aggressive tone” demanded to know if he was speaking to Sigal sitting outside in the car.
Lewis allegedly “proceeded behind a secure area, and began ridiculing Mr. Cabot and Mr. Sigal loudly.”
Cabot, “believed he heard Lewis refer to [himself] and his friend as ‘faggots’,” according to the complaint.
Around this point, Sigal entered the barracks and asked at reception how long the wait would take.
Trooper Lewis allegedly handled the query by “angrily” shouting at Sigal to “… SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!” (emphasis in complaint).
Growing frustrated, Cabot claims he then joined Sigal at the reception desk, and asked for Lewis’ name.
The complaint alleges, “Lewis refused to prove [sic] his name, and instead threateningly shouted ‘You want my name?? [sic] I’ll give you my name!”
It alleges that, “Lewis then immediately came out from the secure area. Mr. Cabot believed that Lewis would assault him and Mr. Sigal, or start some kind of altercation, as Lewis' tone and demeanor were extremely aggressive and frightening. As a result, Mr. Cabot took out his cell phone, with the intention of exercising his constitutionally protected right to videorecord [sic] Lewis, in order to protect his personal safety.”
When Lewis allegedly “angrily yelled in Mr. Cabot’s face,” the two men “explained that they weren't sure what the problem was, and did not understand why Lewis was so upset.”
The complaint claims Lewis then “became even more enraged, and told Mr. Cabot to ‘shut up before you have a complaint issue against you’.”
Allegedly in intending to file a complaint against Cabot, Lewis then demanded Cabot’s age, to which Cabot refused, asserting that he had no obligation to provide his age.
“At this point, enraged, and his face red,” Lewis decided to place Cabot under arrest allegedly for having “chestbumped” Lewis, and “then forcefully shoved Mr. Cabot against the wall,” the complaint alleges.
It says, “Lewis proceeded to falsely arrest Mr. Cabot, without probable cause, at approximately 2 AM on August 8, 2011,” and that another trooper assisted Lewis in the arrest, and “used such force” on him “that it caused [his] t-shirt to rip.”
The police report subsequently claimed that Cabot chest-bumped Lewis, and that his hands were “balled into fists,” but the plaintiff denies this claiming that, according to the complaint, his hands were full with a cellphone and a Kindle e-reader.
Cabot claims he, “never touched, chestbumped, or made contact with Mr. Lewis in any way,” and neither did he “ball his hands into fists.”
It alleges that Lewis and other unidentified officers handcuffed Cabot, and kept him handcuffed for several hours; that he was forced to fully undress and then strip searched; that he was not given access to his blood pressure medication, and was not released until the afternoon that day following his appearance in East Boston Municipal Court.
The complaint alleges that he “was falsely and maliciously charged by Lewis and Doe Defendants [to be identified through discovery] with ‘Assault and Battery on a Police Officer’.”
Cabot “vigorously contested the charge, and ultimately it was dismissed [by the municipal court].”
As a result of his arrest, Cabot claims to have experienced “significant emotional distress and mental anguish”.
The complaint alleges multiple violations of the plaintiff’s constitutional rights, including the rights to free speech, to privacy, and to be free from unreasonable search and seizure by false arrest, detention, and strip search.
It also alleges violations of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, and claims that Lewis and other unidentified troopers are liable for assault and battery, false imprisonment, false arrest, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, abuse of process, and malicious prosecution.
The defense has yet to be file an answer to the complaint, and the case will be heard by Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV.
This article was produced for Open Media Boston's Open Court Project.