Alycia Kennedy obtains federal civil rights jury verdict for false arrest, including punitive damages award
Following a three-day trial, Alycia Kennedy persuaded a federal jury in Massachusetts to find that a Boston Police officer violated her client’s Fourth Amendment rights by unlawfully arresting him in his home without probable cause.
The jury, which also found for the plaintiff on his state law claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution, awarded Ms. Kennedy’s client compensatory damages for his physical injuries and emotional distress, as well as punitive damages to condemn the officer’s actions.
In 2018 on the day after Thanksgiving, police entered Michael Okosi’s home in response to a dispute between two women. While several officers were inside, Mr. Okosi asked them to close the front door to keep the heat in the home. He then reached past the defendant, Officer Scott Roby, to shut the door himself.
The police officer suddenly and forcefully grabbed Mr. Okosi, arrested him, and walked him out to the police cruiser shirtless and shoeless. Officer Roby falsely claimed that Mr. Okosi punched him in the chest and charged him with assault and battery on a police officer and disorderly conduct. A home security camera video footage captured the incident and demonstrated that Mr. Okosi did no such thing.
Nevertheless, based on the defendant’s false accusations, Mr. Okosi spent the night in jail, as well as several months with the charges pending against him until the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the charges for reasons consistent with his innocence.
Ms. Kennedy tried the case as lead counsel, along with Jessie Rossman and Medha Swaminathan of the ACLU of Massachusetts.