The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

February 21, 2014

Inmate, city, police ask for judgment in civil case

SHARON — The city of Sharon and a man its police department arrested each have asked a federal judge to rule on the man’s civil rights suit.

Percy L. Godfrey, who is serving a state prison sentence as a result of that arrest, said he was subject to excessive force and cruel and unusual punishment and denied due process.

The defendants – the city, Sharon Police Department, patrolman Marc Adamo and Cpl. Mark Johnson – have denied the allegations and accuse Godfrey of what basketball fans know as flopping, or acting out an injury that has not been suffered.

Godfrey, 33, formerly of Sharon, was arrested Aug. 19, 2012, in the 600 block of New Castle Avenue for allegedly stealing a water heater from a vacant home, police said.

During the arrest, Godfrey kicked a police cruiser door and window, tried to kick Adamo and threatened to harm Adamo and his family, police said.

Police said they found on Godfrey a pipe, a plastic spoon with residue on it and a metal rod believed to be used as a push rod, all for the ingesting of drugs or maintenance of drug paraphernalia.

Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas R. Dobson ordered the withdrawal of charges of burglary, receiving stolen property and possessing instruments of crime, while a jury in August found Godfrey not guilty of aggravated assault and attempted institutional vandalism.

However, the jury found Godfrey guilty of making terroristic threats and possession of drug paraphernalia, and Dobson sentenced him to 9 months to 2 years in prison.

Godfrey does not argue that he is falsely arrested, but said the arrest was “based on a false allegation.”

Adamo put on the handcuffs “excessively tight” and choked Godfrey to unconsciousness, said Godfrey, who is seeking $50,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

The defendants said the suit should be dismissed because Godfrey is attempting to attack his conviction in federal court without having sought an appeal in state court.

The fact that Godfrey was convicted of two counts shows police had probable cause for the arrest, they said.

Godfrey’s claim of excessive force and cruel and unusual punishment should fail because there is no evidence other than his assertion that he was choked, and Adamo’s actions – including pushing a handcuffed Godfrey back into a cruiser – were the result of Godfrey kicking the cruiser, trying to get out of the car and kicking Adamo in the chest, the defendants said.

State law “provides that police officers are permitted to utilize whatever force is necessary to effect an arrest and furthermore, that they have no obligation to retreat in the face of resistance,” the defendant said.

Godfrey said he was choked after his arrest in the 500 block of Spruce Avenue. Patrolman Adam Zazado said Godfrey did not complain that he had been choked until he was taken to Shenango Valley Regional Lockup, Farrell.

While walking to the cells, Godfrey said he could not breathe and “became limp attempting to give the impression that he was passing out,” Zazado said in his report.

Godfrey lay on the floor and had to be carried to a cell, Zazado said.

Later, Godfrey said he was diabetic, couldn’t breathe and demanded to see a nurse, Zazado said.

An ambulance was called, but Godfrey would not cooperate with the medics, Zazado said. Godfrey was taken to a local hospital and complained that his wrist was broken and that he couldn’t breathe, Zazado said.

X-rays were taken of Godfrey; he was released that night.

Godfrey had settled down and was cooperative when he was returned to the lockup, Zazado said.

During the booking process, Godfrey told Adamo “that he was just salty and that he didn’t mean anything by it,” Zazado said.

Godfrey also offered to be informant in drug buys, Zazado said.

Text Only
Local News
  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing changed in starving case

    The time and place for the preliminary hearing of a Greenville mom accused of starving and beating her 7-year-old young son has been changed.

    July 26, 2014

  • Schell working on mural Drawn to Mexico

    Jason Schell probably is not exaggerating when he says that millions of people have seen his art.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Farrell man, 24, arrested on warrant in connection with April shooting

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April shootout in Sharon.

    Pinkins, 24, of Farrell, is in Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond on gun charges.

    Additional details to follow.

    July 25, 2014

  • Firm will study timing of traffic signals

    Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday hired Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP to study the timing scheme of traffic signals along parts of Hermitage Road and East State Street.

    July 25, 2014

  • 3 area fire depts. awarded grants

    Three area fire departments will share in more than $590,000 in grants meant to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced.

    July 25, 2014