In November of last year, Roch Mantini, who works for his family’s funeral home, was pulled over after leaving work by two Ford City Police officers.
On November 15, 2017, around 9 p.m., Mantini stated in a complaint against the officers and the department, that two officers “forcefully threw” him against his vehicle multiple times before and after handcuffing him behind his back. The complaint also states that Mantini was detained for more than two hours before being let go.
The Post Gazette wrote:
“BOTH OFFICERS THREATENED TO BOUNCE MR. MANITNI’S HEAD OFF THE PAVEMENT,” ACCORDING TO THE COMPLAINT.
Mr. Mantini put in the complaint that he was forced to do three separate breathalyzer tests and that he passed each one. After taking the tests, according to the complaint, the tubes were tossed into a gutter.
The report shows that the officers accuse Mantini of using heroin, other drugs, and “drinking soap.” What they thought was soap was hand sanitizer.
When Mantini asked for the handcuffs to be loosened, an officer decided to tighten them, the complaint read.
Mantini was detained at the scene for a half hour and then transported to the Ford City municipal building. Before being released he was also taken to a local hospital where they performed a blood test.
The complaint states that before dropping him off at his house, officers drove in the opposite direction while making sharp turns causing jolts to Mantini.
The interaction did not stop after being dropped off. The officers proceeded to force their way into Mantinis house, waking his wife, and claiming to his wife that he was drunk.
Mantinis attorney Al Lindsay announced this past Thursday, that Mantinis will be taking this to local court in the Armstrong County Court of Common Pleas.
Even though Lindsay believes it was a violation of federal civil rights it will not be in federal court because,
“IT IS MORE OF A LOCAL COMPLAINT. MR. MANTINI IS A PROMINENT FIGURE IN ARMSTRONG COUNTY, AND WE BELIEVE A JURY [THERE] WILL BE MORE RECEPTIVE TO THIS.”
According to Pennsylvania law, Title 18 § 2903 (a), unlawful detainment consists of:
EXCEPT AS PROVIDED UNDER SUBSECTION (B) OR (C), A PERSON COMMITS A MISDEMEANOR OF THE SECOND DEGREE IF HE KNOWINGLY RESTRAINS ANOTHER UNLAWFULLY SO AS TO INTERFERE SUBSTANTIALLY WITH HIS LIBERTY.
This is not the first time that the department has been sued. Back in May of 2016, Ford City police officer Joshua Wilford falsely arrested Michael Gratteri for wiretapping when it is completely legal to record officers.