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Thorpe police officer sued

Published June 11. 2013 05:02PM

A Jim Thorpe police officer has been sued in federal court for allegedly violating the civil rights of a Lehighton man he arrested.

Lee Marzen, detective for the police department, was sued in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Scranton, in his individual capacity, by Christopher Mazzella, of Lehighton.

The suit states on June 10, 2011, about 6:30 p.m. Mazzella was at the graduation ceremony of Jim Thorpe High School where his brother was a graduate.

During the ceremony Mazzella made celebratory and congratulatory noise when his brother's name was announced.

The suit goes on to state a short time later Marzen "accosted" Mazzella and without warrant and without any probable cause to believe Mazzella had engaged in any criminal activity, committed a "battery upon, assaulted, and detained the plaintiff, in violation of the Plaintiff's right to be free from unreasonable seizures," the suit alleges.

The suit alleges that Marzen attempted to cover-up the assault and battery, with a false and illegal arrest and "use of excessive force" to falsely accuse Mazzella of resisting arrest and persistent disorderly conduct.

Mazzella was charged and arraigned on the charges and detained at the county prison for several hours until bail was posted, the suit states.

The suit charges, "At no time while the plaintiff was in custody was he offered any medical attention or care. However, the following day, because of the injuries inflicted upon him by the Defendant Marzen's use of excessive force during the course of the assault, battery, and false arrest, the Plaintiff was required to receive medical attention and care, and as a result has been damaged financially."

The suit states that Mazzella went on trial and was acquitted of all charges by a county jury panel. The trial judge also acquitted him of a summary offense.

The suit states because of the alleged illegal arrest Mazzella was forced to expend $8,000 for legal representation.

The suit further charges in May of this year, "in retaliation for the Plaintiff's acquittal on the false charges brought against him, on a pretext and without a warrant, probable cause or other justification, the Defendant Marzen, illegally invaded a rental property which he knew was owned by the Plaintiff or the Plaintiff's family, and which he knew was occupied by an individual who had testified on behalf of the Plaintiff during the criminal trial.

"While inside the house, the Defendant Marzen kicked in a door, rifled through various dressers and other containers, and otherwise invaded the personal and property rights of the plaintiff and caused damage to the plaintiff's property or that of his family."

The suit alleges Mazzella's constitutional rights under the fourth and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution were violated. The suit also makes other allegations of loss of rights and expenditures of money for medical treatment and legal fees.

The multiple-count suit alleges assault and battery, false arrest and illegal imprisonment, harassment and intentional destruction of property.

Sought is compensatory and punitive damages, not specified, against Marzen along with the costs of the action, reasonable attorney fees and costs, and "such other and further relief as may be deemed appropriate."

The action was filed by the law offices of Worth, Magee & Fisher, of Lehighton.

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