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UPDATE: Two Men Sue Foxborough Police Chief, Town for 'Improper' Practice of Protective Custody During Springsteen Concert

Two concertgoers have filed a class action lawsuit against Foxborough Police Chief Edward O'Leary and the town challenging Foxborough Police's practice of improperly taking people into protective custody.

Two men who attended a Bruce Springsteen concert at Gillette Stadium in August and allegedy taken into protective custody by Foxborough Police have filed a class action lawsuit against Police Chief Edward O'Leary and the town.

Plaintiffs Paul Weldner and Timothy Dutton, both of Portland, Maine, filed the class action lawsuit in federal court Monday alleging that the Foxborough Police Department is putting people into protective custody even when people are not incapacitated.

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."

"The security surrounding these events are vigilantes," said 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 P.C. in Boston, alleges that it is unconstitutional to take people into custody simply because they are perceived to be under the influence of alcohol.

Weldner and Dutton planned to attend the Springsteen concert in Foxborough on Aug. 18. They drank alcohol before the concert, but they were not incapacitated, according to a press release issued by Law Offices of Howard Friedman. They had rented a bus so they could travel safely.

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

"Protective custody is a joke," said 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."

Weldner and Dutton sued Foxborough Police Chief Edward O’Leary and the Town of Foxborough on behalf of all the people affected by Foxborough’s unconstitutional use of the protective custody statute, according to the press release.

The lawsuit alleges that Foxborough established a policy of taking people
into protective custody even though the people detained were not incapacitated by alcohol consumption. As a result of this policy, which has been applied at numerous events, over 1,000 people have been handcuffed and placed in cells merely because they were perceived to be under the influence of alcohol, according to the press release.

The lawsuit alleges that Foxborough’s practices violate the constitutional right to be free from unreasonable seizures, according to the press release. The civil lawsuit, brought by Boston attorneys Howard Friedman and David Milton of the
Law Offices of Howard Friedman P.C. in Boston, seeks money damages for violations of the class members’ constitutional rights, as well as an end to the policy.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court in Boston and is called Paul Weldner et al., v. Edward O’Leary, et al., C.A. No. 12-11771-DPW, according to the press release.

Steve September 24, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Well that didn't take long...... This is exactly what people said would happen when we passed this half-wit bylaw!! Hopefully this won't cost the town legal services as this is a stadium related lawsuit.
Deborah A Stewart September 24, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Steve, can I ask how you perceive it to be a Stadium related lawsuit? It is the towns bylaw and it has nothing specific to do with the Stadium. Anyone who is perceived to be intoxicated can be detained on the common, walking the street etc. This is one of the reasons I couldn't vote for it. I believed that there needed to be more exact guidelines given. I questioned at the time what would prevent an officer (not that I am saying they would, JMO ) from having an issue with a resident, seeing them out somewhere and bringing them in for PC? I wanted to see that they would have the right to take a test to see IF they needed to be PC'd. JMO.
Steve September 24, 2012 at 11:18 PM
I beleive they detained on stadium property so hopefully the town is covered by our agreement with the stadium to cover our legal costs in the case of any lawsuits resulting from incedents at the stadium.
paul September 25, 2012 at 11:21 AM
This is what happens when you give the cops too much power. They lock up a whole bunch of people in front of everyone to make a statement (behave or you will end up like them). This policy is a violation of civil rights. Would an off duty cop get put in protective custody? This is jailing without a hearing and a cop could do it to you just for being with his ex-girlfriend.
Jill September 25, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Hopefully this starts a much needed trend. Too often cops abuse their power and punish innocent people just because they can. It gives good cops which seem to be far and few between a bad name. And watch out if they end up hurting you visibly during an unlawful detaining. Then you will be slapped with an assault on an officer charge. I have had this exact situation happen to two people in my family at countryfest. All they were doing was trying to get information from a cop regarding a friend who was also unlawfully detained. The cop then slammed him to the ground and messed up his face. Boom assault on an officer.
Pamela shaw November 13, 2012 at 08:38 AM
Awash yeah. Similar situation where I witnessed someone being " pc'd"in Laconia and there were many witnesses who watch a young lady get brutaly handled by four officers and threw thru mid air into a paddy wagon. She weighed well under 100 lbs. Onlookers cried out against the brute force and were told to leave or same thing would happen to them. I spoke up against was then arrested for watching and my car impounded from the parking garage all in good fun for the police. I knew the girl was handicapped and I was trying to tell the police that not to use such force and asking witnesses to document what they were seeing. The officer shut the door on my foot and when i said he was assaulting me he threatened said "well then you just assaulted an officer too then .The three statements from the officers varied dramatically about that night.
Pamela shaw November 13, 2012 at 08:48 AM
I was pepper sprayed while in handcuffs and sitting in the back of the cruiser. Btw I have no criminal record prior to this. I wanted to take legal action but my lawyer said I couldn't if I wanted the bogus assault on a cop charge dropped.
Ericka Malmstrom November 19, 2012 at 04:52 PM
I was put in protective custody too and the cop grabbed be out of the lawn chair leaving black and blues all over my arms for two weeks. I was in a lawn chair crying cause I lost my boyfriend since they seperated us when we went in to give them our tickets. It was a the AC DC concert.

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