BOSTON—A Boston man filed a federal lawsuit against the city and four police officers on Wednesday alleging he was beaten after he used his cellphone to record their actions as they arrested his friend.
Maury Paulino said in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court that one officer punched, kneed, and doused his face with pepper-spray while the other officers stood by and did nothing to stop it.
Paulino, 19 at the time of the November 2009 arrest, said in the lawsuit he sought treatment at a hospital for injuries including abrasions on his neck, bleeding from his mouth, nose, and lips, and a laceration on his scalp.
Paulino originally went to the city police station in Roxbury to bail out a friend, according to his lawyers, Howard Friedman and David Milton. The friend acted belligerently as he was being released and exchanged heated words with one officer.
Paulino started recording when officers allegedly started mistreating the friend outside the station. He was charged with violating the state wiretapping laws. He also was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and assault and battery on a police officer.
His lawyers said he did not interfere with police while recording, nor did he curse, threaten or act aggressively. The lawsuit said a federal appeals court has ruled that it is legal to record police who are performing their official duties in public.
The illegal wiretapping charge was dismissed by a clerk magistrate; Paulino was acquitted of all other charges at trial.
The lawsuit names the city as a defendant for allegedly failing to properly supervise and discipline the officers.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages for violations of his constitutional rights as well as attorney's fees.
The Boston Police Department said in a statement Wednesday it couldn't comment on pending litigation. The statement did say that since 2010, the department has conducted training for all officers to reinforce that public and open recording is allowed under the state wiretap statute.