A Pennsylvania State Trooper has been charged with three misdemeanors for kicking a handcuffed and defenseless man in the face.
According to court affidavits, officer Ryan Luckenbaugh was arrested on Friday on two counts official oppression, one count simple assault, and a summary offense of harassment.
He is accused of assaulting skateboarder Chris Siennick during an arrest on May 16 of last year in which the man was handcuffed with his hands behind his back and sitting on the corner of Second and Locust Streets.
Prosecutors say Luckenbaugh kicked Siennick in the face, “causing his head and body to recoil backwards.” The actual strike was not caught on video because it occurred below the line of sight of Luckenbaugh’s camera, but responding Harrisburg police officers bared witness.
After investigators asked the cops about the incident, they crossed the blue line of silence and said “the kick was neither reasonable nor justified given the circumstances.”
“I’ll agree with that completely,” Siennick said. “And I’m glad they spoke out against it.”
Siennick said Luckenbaugh’s partner, Trooper Michael Trotta, who was not charged in the incident, was also abusive during the arrest. He did concede however that he flipped the cops off after they called him a slur as they cruised past him at around 2 a.m..
Court records say that Siennick became belligerent and yelled profanity at the officers as they attempted to arrest him, and that the troopers claimed that he threw an object at their patrol car and spit at them.
According to court affidavits, no evidence exists to support those claims.
“I didn’t spit at their car. I didn’t throw anything at the car,” Siennick said. “That’s something they really tried to stick in with my initial arrest record. It didn’t make any sense then and it doesn’t make any sense now.”
Siennick faced numerous charges after the arrest and spent three weeks in the Dauphin County jail. After prosecutors saw video of what occurred however, all charges against Siennick were immediately dropped and he was released.
Siennick in now pursuing a federal civil lawsuit against the troopers and says he was also tased and pepper sprayed in the incident.
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