Federal lawsuit claims excessive force used during arrest over marijuana plants

BUTLER, Pa. — A Butler County couple claims excessive force was used during the arrest of the husband in 2017 and that their civil rights were violated.

Danny Pollock was arrested and allegedly assaulted in August 2017 by Pennsylvania State Police troopers at his home. Attorney Al Lindsay is calling the incident a police brutality case.

"Their life has been terribly disturbed by what happened that day. Particularly to him. He's walking around with a cane now as a result of what occurred," Lindsay said.

According to a federal lawsuit, troopers were serving an arrest warrant after charges were filed related to the seizure of two marijuana plants at the home in 2015.

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Pollock said he admitted to authorities that the marijuana plants were growing in the backyard, telling the trooper who seized them in July 2015 that they were for his wife, who is allergic to narcotics and other painkillers. He claims he was told nothing further would come of the incident.

Charges were allegedly filed in July 2017 and an arrest warrant was issued for Pollock, who claims he heard nothing leading up to his arrest.

The court complaint alleges that when troopers went to the couple's home on Aug. 21, 2017, they "refused to specify the cause for the warrant or show proof of its existence to Mr. Pollock."

As Pollock was being arrested, he and his wife claim they repeatedly told the troopers they needed to be careful because he had recently been released from the hospital after suffering a heart attack and having a stent put in.

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During the arrest, Pollock, according to the complaint, was bull-rushed up against the house and thrown to the ground, causing him to hit his face off a porch swing. Pollock said he suffered broken teeth and damage to his right eye.

The complaint also claims that while Pollock was on the ground he was kicked, punched, kneed and elbowed by the troopers as they handcuffed him.

Pollock was hospitalized for two days with multiple bruises and to undergo a heart catheterization to make sure the stent remained in place, the complaint said.

After his release from the hospital, Pollock was taken to the Butler County Jail, where he remained for 15 days.

Channel 11 News contacted Pennsylvania State Police about the lawsuit and received the following response: "The Pennsylvania State Police does not comment on pending litigation."