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More Concertgoers Sue Foxborough for ‘Improper’ Practice of Protective Custody During Gillette Stadium Events

Two more concertgoers have joined the class action lawsuit challenging Foxborough’s practice of “unlawfully holding people in protective custody at Gillette Stadium,” according to the Law Offices of Howard Friedman.

Two additional people are joining the class action lawsuit challenging the town of Foxborough’s policy of holding people in protective custody during Gillette Stadium events, according to the Law Offices of Howard Friedman.

The suit alleges over a thousand people were held in protective custody unlawfully because they were intoxicated but not incapacitated, according to a press release issued by the Law Offices of Howard Friedman.

Michael Burgess, 42, a police officer in Massachusetts and Lindsey Schmidt, 23 of Portland, Maine have joined original plaintiffs Dr. Timothy Dutton and Paul Weldner in a lawsuit against the town and Foxborough Police Chief Edward O’Leary filed on Sept. 24.

Burgess was allegedly placed into protective custody by Foxborough Police officers at the 2011 New England Country Music Festival at Gillette Stadium and Schmidt was allegedly placed into protective custody before entering Gillette Stadium for the 2012 New England Country Music Festival this past August.

Burgess and Schmidt will join Dr. Dutton at a press conference Monday in Boston to announce the class action lawsuit. An amended complaint in the lawsuit will be filed on Monday, according to the Law offices of Howard Friedman.

Dr. Dutton commented on Foxborough Patch's Aug. 21 article, "Foxborough Police Report 'Few Problems' During Bruce Springsteen Concert at Gillette Stadium," calling Foxborough Police "vigilantes" after he was allegedly taken into protective custody.

"The security surrounding these events are vigilantes," said Dr. Dutton. "So are the Foxboro Police. My girlfriend was nabbed for barely stumbling in the ticket line, breathalyzed, handcuffed and detained for nothing more than having a good time. I was told to move on or join her. I joined her. For the next six hours I received inhumane treatment that the Foxboro Police all enjoyed. Lawsuit coming."

Dutton remained true to his word.

The lawsuit, according to the Law Offices of Howard Friedman, alleges that it is unconstitutional to take people into custody simply because they are perceived to be under the influence of alcohol.

Weldner and Dr. Dutton reportedly planned to attend the Springsteen concert in Foxborough on Aug. 18, according to a press release issued by the Law Offices of Howard Friedman.

“They drank alcohol before the concert, but they were not incapacitated,” according to the press release. “They had rented a bus so they could travel safely.”

Foxborough Police officers, according to attorney Friedman's office, detained Weldner and Dr. Dutton before they entered the concert and placed them into protective custody along with over 60 others.

"Protective custody is a joke," said Dr. Dutton. "I was detained in a cell with a man who had spent one year in jail for attempted murder for stabbing someone eight times. There were plenty of other innocent people like me in this lockup."

The civil lawsuit, brought by Boston attorneys Howard Friedman and David Milton of the Law Offices of Howard Friedman P.C., seeks money damages for violations of the class members’ constitutional rights, as well as an end to the policy. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court in Boston, is called Paul Weldner et al., v. Edward O’Leary, et al., C.A. No. 12-11771-DPW.

A copy of the original complaint can be found here: http://www.civil-rightslaw.com/storage/weldner.pdf.

Dennis Naughton November 12, 2012 at 03:53 PM
I would assume that the FPD has a written protocol to cover protective custody situations. It would be informative if it were published in the Patch for the townspeople to read.
Jeremie Smith (Editor) November 12, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Thank you for the comment. I'm already working on an update to this story that will include information (protective custody protocol) and comment from Foxborough Police. Will publish as soon as that information is obtained.
Dennis Naughton November 12, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Great Jeremie. Thanks.

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