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Hartford Courant - East Hartford Man Sues Police Over Incident At His Home

Posted on Apr 11 2008

A local man has filed a federal lawsuit against the town police department, alleging that officers raided his home without a warrant during a search for the driver of a stolen car, then beat and verbally abused him before realizing they had targeted the wrong address.

Ricky Frink is seeking an undetermined amount of damages at U.S. District Court in Hartford.

Frink says police pounded on the front door of his home on Indian Hill Street about 12:30 a.m. on a night in January 2007 because they thought they had found a stolen car parked outside his home.

When Frink opened the door, he alleges, officers threw him to the ground, verbally abused him and punched him when he tried to ask what they were there for.

Officers ransacked his house before a supervisor arrived to tell them that they had the wrong address, Frink says in his suit.

"It's a shocking story, all in all," said Frink's attorney, A. Paul Spinella of Hartford.

He said Frink was additionally wronged when police failed to compile a report detailing the incident until they learned that Frink had filed a formal complaint.

In the police reports, Spinella said, officers denied the abuse allegations, saying Frink was treated with respect during the incident.

"The reports demonstrate the same arrogance as the search itself," Spinella said.

Despite the allegations in Frink's lawsuit, Police Chief Mark Sirois has exonerated the officer who was one of the main subjects of the brutality complaint, Michael DeMaine.

In a letter written in February, Sirois told DeMaine that an internal investigation concluded that his actions during the incident were justified and within departmental policy.

Police said the incident began when police received a report of a car that had been stolen in Hartford and spotted one that matched the description near Main and Governor streets.

The officers tried to follow the car, but broke off the chase when the car nearly crashed, police said.

A short time later, police found a similar vehicle parked outside Frink's house, police said. They said Frink yelled at officers from his doorway, but he was not arrested and officers left after they determined that the car outside the home belonged to a relative of Frink's who lived next door.

By MATT BURGARD
Courant Staff Writer
Contact Matt Burgard at mburgard(at)courant(dot)com.
Copyright © 2008, The Hartford Courant