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Cops Could Be Liable for Witness Hitting Suspect

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CN) - Police officers may be liable for letting an alleged robbery victim punch their handcuffed suspect in the eye, a federal judge ruled.

Daryl T'wain Gibson Sr. says Steelton Police Officer Arthur Etnoyer arrested him in November 2010 for the alleged robbery of Quintel Mills.

Gibson says that on Nov. 5, 2010, he sat on a curb with his hands cuffed and legs shackled, and that he was told an officer was en route with an alleged robbery victim to identify him.

Sgt. David Crawford allegedly arrived with Mills and allowed Mills to walk within 2 or 3 feet of Gibson. Then Mills hit Gibson on the eye, according to the complaint.

Gibson says police put him in harm's way by allowing Mills to come so close, and that the incident left him with a lacerated face and an eyelid in need of surgical glue.

He sued the Steelton Police Department, Etnoyer and Crawford.

Based on the recommendations of a federal magistrate, Chief U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane gave the green light to Gibson's claims that Etnoyer and Crawford failed to protect him in violation of 14th Amendment.

The court dismissed with prejudice the claims against the Steelton Police, as well as the claims against the officers in their individual capacity.

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