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.