Civil suit filed against Aliquippa police after dispute with citizens

ALIQUIPPA, Pa. — UPDATE (1/14/23)

The attorney for Theaughn Lewis reached out to Channel 11 Saturday to inform us he’d filed a civil suit on behalf of Lewis. The lawsuit names the Aliquippa Police Department and the officer who punched Lewis as defendants. It seeks damages of $75,000.

An Aliquippa man woke up to find his car gone and spent the next eight days behind bars.

Justin Carr tells Channel 11 he still can’t believe what happened. On January 2, he woke up to find his car missing and called Aliquippa Police to report it stolen. Later that day, he found it himself.

“I called back and said I found my effing car. I don’t need your effing help,” he said.

According to the criminal complaint, police went to Carr’s home to “be sure” he’d recovered his vehicle. The complaint goes on to say he was belligerent, refusing to speak to officers and swearing at them.

“They said they came over to tow my car. That’s why we came outside and were like, you’re not towing my car,” Carr said.

That’s where the cell phone video picks up. It’s been viewed more than 15 thousand times on Facebook. You can see Carr’s friends, Theaughn Lewis and Monica McCutcheon, arguing with the police.

The two are heard shouting and swearing at officers. According to the criminal complaint, they were also “threatening officers and their families.”

It’s at that point that officers move in to arrest Lewis. According to the criminal complaint, Lewis threw a punch that didn’t connect.

The punch is not visible in the video.

Lewis is then tackled to the ground and punched in the face while held down by two officers.

McCutcheon and Carr were also arrested.

“I broke down in tears,” Lewis’ mother Maria Schofield said. “I can’t express how I feel about the situation. I was literally floored to the ground when I [saw] it and was wondering at what point was that appropriate when you already had him on the ground when you already had his hands behind his back.”

She says the police acted wrongly and didn’t de-escalate the situation.

We asked her if she believed her son was at all responsible for what happened.

“No. Not to that extreme.”

Carr is facing a disorderly conduct charge. McCutcheon and Lewis are facing assault charges.

The Beaver County District Attorney tells Channel 11 no complaint has been filed against police for use of force in this case.

Lewis’ mother says she spoke with an attorney and plans to pursue charges.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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