Prominent attorney Clifford Haines, who was involved in an altercation with sheriff’s deputies at the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center in August, has sued the officers over “extraordinary misconduct” that resulted in him sustaining a broken shoulder.
Haines, a past president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, sued five unnamed sheriff’s deputies and one unnamed sergeant Monday afternoon in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The lawsuit alleges assault and battery, false arrest and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Haines is the founder of Haines & Associates, and, along with heading the Pennsylvania Bar Association, he was also a past chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, making him one of a select group to have headed both organizations.
Neither Haines’ attorney, Patricia Pierce of Greenblatt, Pierce, Funt & Flores, nor the sheriff’s office returned a call for comment Monday afternoon.
Haines was arrested in late August after a scuffle broke out by the metal detectors near the entrance at the CJC. He suffered a broken and dislocated shoulder in the incident. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office ultimately declined to press charges.
According to Haines’ civil complaint, he had been at the CJC to meet with a client. After realizing he forgot his bar card identification, he had to enter through the general security screening area and have his cellphone locked in a pouch, which is the practice for most nonlawyers entering the building. However, he realized he had not turned off his phone, so he attempted to return to the front of the building in order to have the pouch unlocked so he could turn his phone off, the complaint said.
A deputy, according to the complaint, “rudely” ordered him to leave through a different part of the building, which he did. However, after Haines passed through the metal detectors a second time he approached the deputy and reprimanded the officer about his conduct.
Citing a video of the events, the complaint said Haines spread his arms and then the officer shoved him twice in the chest.
“Mr. Haines deflected defendant Doe 1′s hand, and calmly repeated his previous statement,” the complaint said. “At that point, Doe 1 and four other sheriff’s deputies, identified herein as defendant Does 2-5, tackled Mr. Haines, one holding him by the throat in a choke hold while others pulled and shoved him onto the belt of the metal detector before throwing him to the floor and jumping on top of him.”
The complaint said Haines was then cuffed and he was taken into custody in the basement of the CJC. He repeatedly asked to be let out of his handcuffs because he was in pain due to the shoulder injuries, however, he remained handcuffed and in custody for an hour before he was transferred to Hahnemann University Hospital, the complaint said.