Christopher Loeb speaks to the media after former Suffolk District...

Christopher Loeb speaks to the media after former Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota and top aide Christopher McPartland were found guilty on all felony charges at federal court in Central Islip in December 2019. Credit: Barry Sloan

The man whose 2012 beating by Suffolk police led to prison terms for ex-Chief of Department James Burke and former District Attorney Thomas Spota alleges in a federal lawsuit that he was “physically beat, terrorized and threatened” by officers during a 2019 arrest.

The lawsuit filed by Christopher Loeb on Oct. 21 in the Eastern District of New York in Central Islip also claims Suffolk officers “encouraged, directed and/or permitted” a police dog named Brick to attack him, resulting in serious injury. 

“Suffolk County has a custom, policy, pattern and/or practice of permitting, ratifying and acquiescing to the use of excessive force against the plaintiff because the plaintiff was a target of the defendants as a result of the plaintiff exposing corruption and the use of excessive force within the Suffolk County Police Department in a prior civil rights action against the county of Suffolk,” the complaint said. 

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, names the county, the police department and officers Shawn Petersen, Erik Pedersen, Frank Santanello, Mathew Kenneally and Glen Ritchie as defendants. 

Loeb’s attorney, Christopher Cassar of Huntington, said the alleged 2019 attack was linked to Loeb's efforts to bring Burke and other officials to justice after the 2012 assault. 

"He's doing much better these days," Cassar said. "He's been through a lot in Suffolk County."

Spokespeople for Suffolk police and the county declined to comment, saying they could not discuss pending litigation. 

“I can’t comment on the false allegations made in the lawsuit,” Suffolk Police Benevolent Association President Noel DiGerolamo said, adding Loeb’s "conduct and behavior" speak for themselves.

Loeb, 36, was arrested in March 2019 after police and prosecutors said he tried to run over officers, deliberately crashed into a police car and drove across lawns to get away.

The incident began in Ridge, Suffolk prosecutors said in 2019, after Loeb nearly ran over a woman walking her dog while driving in a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Prosecutors said the woman grabbed her dog and dived on a neighbor’s lawn to avoid getting hit. 

Loeb drove across lawns to evade police, and motorists told police that he drove at more than 100 mph on Patchogue-Mount Sinai Road, sometimes on the wrong side of the road, until he stopped at a gas station in Islandia and ran into the woods. A police helicopter located him crouching under a tree and a police dog retrieved him, according to prosecutors. 

Loeb was charged with second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and other charges and pleaded not guilty during an arraignment in April 2019. 

Loeb said at the time he required the walker due to dog bites sustained during his arrest. 

“During this arrest the defendants physically beat, terrorized and threatened Christopher Loeb and during this arrest the defendants encouraged, directed and/or permitted a Suffok County police dog named 'Brick' to attack the plaintiff and as result of this attack by 'Brick,' the plaintiff suffered substantial pain and serious physical injury," the lawsuit states.

Loeb pleaded guilty to reckless driving in April, according to a spokeswoman for Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney. He also forfeited the Jeep. 

"The charges [from the 2019 incident] were dropped because they were not based in true facts," Cassar said. 

Former Suffolk Chief of Department James Burke pleaded guilty in 2016 to violating Loeb’s civil rights after admitting that he assaulted Loeb in a police precinct in 2012 and orchestrated a departmental cover-up of the beating.

Burke was furious after Loeb, then a self-admitted drug addict, broke into his vehicle and stole items, including his gun belt, Viagra, pornography and sex toys, federal prosecutors charged in a trial of Spota and his then-former aide, Christopher McPartland. Burke pleaded guilty to the charges and served time in prison.

Burke's mentor, Spota was sentenced to serve five years in prison in August 2021 after a jury found him and McPartland guilty in December 2019 of witness tampering, obstruction of justice and conspiracy for their role in the cover-up. Both men started serving their prison sentences early this year.

In 2018, Suffolk County agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a federal lawsuit brought by Loeb after the assault by Burke and other officers.


 

The man whose 2012 beating by Suffolk police led to prison terms for ex-Chief of Department James Burke and former District Attorney Thomas Spota alleges in a federal lawsuit that he was “physically beat, terrorized and threatened” by officers during a 2019 arrest.

The lawsuit filed by Christopher Loeb on Oct. 21 in the Eastern District of New York in Central Islip also claims Suffolk officers “encouraged, directed and/or permitted” a police dog named Brick to attack him, resulting in serious injury. 

“Suffolk County has a custom, policy, pattern and/or practice of permitting, ratifying and acquiescing to the use of excessive force against the plaintiff because the plaintiff was a target of the defendants as a result of the plaintiff exposing corruption and the use of excessive force within the Suffolk County Police Department in a prior civil rights action against the county of Suffolk,” the complaint said. 

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, names the county, the police department and officers Shawn Petersen, Erik Pedersen, Frank Santanello, Mathew Kenneally and Glen Ritchie as defendants. 

Loeb’s attorney, Christopher Cassar of Huntington, said the alleged 2019 attack was linked to Loeb's efforts to bring Burke and other officials to justice after the 2012 assault. 

"He's doing much better these days," Cassar said. "He's been through a lot in Suffolk County."

Spokespeople for Suffolk police and the county declined to comment, saying they could not discuss pending litigation. 

“I can’t comment on the false allegations made in the lawsuit,” Suffolk Police Benevolent Association President Noel DiGerolamo said, adding Loeb’s "conduct and behavior" speak for themselves.

Loeb, 36, was arrested in March 2019 after police and prosecutors said he tried to run over officers, deliberately crashed into a police car and drove across lawns to get away.

The incident began in Ridge, Suffolk prosecutors said in 2019, after Loeb nearly ran over a woman walking her dog while driving in a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Prosecutors said the woman grabbed her dog and dived on a neighbor’s lawn to avoid getting hit. 

Loeb drove across lawns to evade police, and motorists told police that he drove at more than 100 mph on Patchogue-Mount Sinai Road, sometimes on the wrong side of the road, until he stopped at a gas station in Islandia and ran into the woods. A police helicopter located him crouching under a tree and a police dog retrieved him, according to prosecutors. 

Loeb was charged with second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief and other charges and pleaded not guilty during an arraignment in April 2019. 

Loeb said at the time he required the walker due to dog bites sustained during his arrest. 

“During this arrest the defendants physically beat, terrorized and threatened Christopher Loeb and during this arrest the defendants encouraged, directed and/or permitted a Suffok County police dog named 'Brick' to attack the plaintiff and as result of this attack by 'Brick,' the plaintiff suffered substantial pain and serious physical injury," the lawsuit states.

Loeb pleaded guilty to reckless driving in April, according to a spokeswoman for Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney. He also forfeited the Jeep. 

"The charges [from the 2019 incident] were dropped because they were not based in true facts," Cassar said. 

FBI agents arrest the former Suffolk County Chief of Police...

FBI agents arrest the former Suffolk County Chief of Police James Burke outside his Smithtown home on Dec. 9, 2015. Credit: James Carbone

Former Suffolk Chief of Department James Burke pleaded guilty in 2016 to violating Loeb’s civil rights after admitting that he assaulted Loeb in a police precinct in 2012 and orchestrated a departmental cover-up of the beating.

Burke was furious after Loeb, then a self-admitted drug addict, broke into his vehicle and stole items, including his gun belt, Viagra, pornography and sex toys, federal prosecutors charged in a trial of Spota and his then-former aide, Christopher McPartland. Burke pleaded guilty to the charges and served time in prison.

Burke's mentor, Spota was sentenced to serve five years in prison in August 2021 after a jury found him and McPartland guilty in December 2019 of witness tampering, obstruction of justice and conspiracy for their role in the cover-up. Both men started serving their prison sentences early this year.

In 2018, Suffolk County agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a federal lawsuit brought by Loeb after the assault by Burke and other officers.


 

Latest videos