A federal jury returned a partial verdict Tuesday in favor of a former Long Island Ducks baseball player who said he and his girlfriend were wrongfully beaten and detained by Suffolk County police after a confrontation with drunken teenagers in Babylon in 2015.
Jurors deliberated for two days in U.S. District Court Judge Denis R. Hurley’s courtroom in Central Islip.
Jonathan Griffin, who most recently played for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs but played first base for the Ducks at the time of the incident, was awarded $50,000 in compensatory damages and $5,000 in punitive damages. Sarah Reid was awarded $25,000 in compensatory damages and $5,000 in punitive damages.
The jury sided with the couple in their claims of assault and excessive force by Sgt. Brian Camilleri, who was one of at least five officers who responded to the scene on Deer Park Avenue after the couple's night out at Lily Flanagan’s Pub on July 4, 2015.
Stephen Civardi and Richard Obiol of Freeport represented Griffin and Reid.
“They were both pleased with the result,” Civardi said, adding “The amount of money was not important. Confirmation that their rights were violated was the ultimate goal and they achieved it.”
The Suffolk County attorney’s office, which handled the case, declined to comment on the verdict.
Griffin and Reid filed a $14 million lawsuit in October 2016 claiming they were confronted by several intoxicated teenagers while walking with other couples on Deer Park Avenue in July 2015.
They said Griffin was punched in the nose during the skirmish and the couples ran from the scene.
They claimed further that when First Precinct police officers arrived, Reid asked for help but was “poked violently in the chest with a hard object” by Camilleri, after which Reid pushed his hand away but was thrown to the pavement and handcuffed.
The lawsuit claimed that Griffin stood up for his girlfriend and was tackled by officers, who pulled “his arms behind his back, pushing his face into the pavement, and he was repeatedly struck in the face with a hard object, which he believes was a flashlight,” the suit said.
Griffin suffered injuries requiring treatment at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip. Both he and Reid were arrested on resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration charges, which were later dropped, Civardi said.
Jurors did not find credible the couple’s claims against three other officers, Evan Rosenberg, Derrick Hall and Stacey Cunneen, and Deputy Inspector Donald Raber. Nor did jurors find enough evidence was presented to support the couple’s claims of false arrest and failure to intervene.