PHILADELPHIA (CN) – A Ph.D. psychologist doing research on addiction says a city cop beat the hell out of him as the doctor waited to interview a patient on the street. The Ph.D., the mental health director at a county jail, says that before Officer Eric Burke crushed his eye socket, the cop told him, “Tell me what you’re doing here or I’ll kick your fucking head in.” Then, he says, Burke proceeded to do it.
Anthony Abrams claims that Officer Burke assaulted him as Abrams did research for a federally funded study. Abrams was Director of Mental Health Services at the Bucks County Correctional Facility, and was working “in the federally funded Motivational Interviewing Study of the University of New Mexico’s Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions, interviews individuals as part of his study,” according to the federal complaint.
On March 8 between 5:30 and 6 p.m., Abrams says, he was legally at 5th and York Streets in Philadelphia, “for a pre-arranged meeting with a patient/client,” as part of the study. He says he paid an unknown woman $20, in exchange for which she said she could take him to his client.
Then Officer Burke pulled up in a squad car and said, “You, get over here.”
Abrams says he complied, and in answer to Burke’s question about what he was doing there, “told him that he was looking for a woman who was a patient/client of his and that he was a psychologist.”
“Immediately thereafter and with no provocation, Officer Burke forcefully threw Dr. Abrams to the ground, banging his head on the street,” the complaint states. “He then placed his foot on Dr. Abrams’ head and said,’ tell me what you’re doing here or I’ll kick your fucking head in.'”
“Officer Burke kicked Dr. Abrams in the face several times,” then pulled him up and punched him in the eye, knocking him down again, the doctor says. He says the assault left him with a “crushed orbital floor bone of the eye socket which required surgical repair and necessitated a metal implant behind the eyeball.”
Abrams says that at no time was he “uncooperative”, “disrespectful” or “defiant,” and that Burke never asked him for identification or told him that he had committed any crime.
But in “an attempt to cover up their unlawful conduct,” Burke and the City of Philadelphia police department swore out phony criminal complaints against him for aggravated assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, Abrams says. All charges were dismissed.
Abrams says the assault has left him with double vision, headaches and injuries to his right hand and wrist.
Abrams seeks punitive damages for assault, battery, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false arrest and malicious prosecution. He is represented by Angelo J. Foglietta.