A North Sea man has formally announced his intention to sue the Southampton Town Police Department for what he described as “excessive and unjustified force against him” by police officers last December.
Mark Dickstein filed a notice of claim, typically a precursor to a lawsuit, with the Southampton Town clerk on Thursday, May 1, naming as defendants the town, its police department, Police Chief Robert Pearce, and Sergeants Michael Burns and Andrew Ficcarelli.
In a series of email exchanges, Mr. Dickstein said that four officers responded to his house on December 4, 2013, after an allegedly disgruntled former employee of his called 911 saying Mr. Dickstein was “crazy.”
Mr. Dickstein said police officers entered his home while he was doing naked yoga in a bedroom, and he alleges that they beat him unconscious, handcuffed him and took him to Southampton Hospital, which was followed by “12 days of involuntary confinement at [the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program at] Stony Brook [University Hospital] and St. Catherines [sic] of Smithtown.” He said the handcuffs caused numerous cuts on his wrists.
Mr. Dickstein said the ex-employee that called the police on December 4 had been trying to extort money from him to the tune of $10,000 and when he refused to pay, the police were called.
Chief Pearce declined to comment on the pending litigation, and Lieutenant Michael Zarro, the department’s Freedom of Information Officer, declined to get into the specifics of the case, other than saying the officers were at the home to assist the Southampton Volunteer Ambulance Corps deal with an emotionally disturbed individual. He also noted that Mr. Dickstein was never put under arrest.
“It was a psychiatric emergency, and he was taken to Southampton Hospital because he probably needed immediate medical attention,” Lt. Zarro said. “That’s our policy.”
The field report from the December incident acquired by The Press states that the nature of the complaint was an aided case and that it ended with Mr. Dickstein being taken to Southampton Hospital.
Gerald Lefcourt, Mr. Dickstein’s Manhattan lawyer, has not returned numerous calls seeking comment over the past two weeks regarding his client’s case.
Although the claim, which was filed by Mr. Lefcourt, does not offer specifics on the incident, it alleges that during the course of duty on December 4, 2013, Sgt. Burns and other unnamed police employees entered Mr. Dickstein’s home and “engaged in negligent, careless, reckless, intentional, willful, unlawful, and malicious wrongdoing,” including falsely imprisoning Mr. Dickstein, assaulting him and depriving him of his civil and constitutional rights.
The document also accuses Sgt. Burns and Sgt. Ficcarelli of preventing Mr. Dickstein from filing a complaint against Sgt. Burns and the other employees involved in the December 4 incident on April 1.
The notice does not request a specific amount in damages, but does state that Mr. Dickstein is seeking monetary damages for his physical and psychological injuries, emotional distress, deprivation of rights, and economic losses.
The injuries he suffered include severe pain, nervous shock, humiliation and loss of money, according to the notice. He also alleges that the back of his left leg was injured by an officer stepping on it during the incident, and he said his left wrist and thumb were fractured.