During the summer of 2009 two Martinsville brothers were arrested in connection with the camming of the movie Bruno at a cinema in Manville, New Jersey. Tipped off by the MPAA, the police claimed the pair had been recording first-run movies and selling the copies on the Internet.
As the brothers left the cinema, detectives stopped them and allegedly announced that they were under arrest. Paul Epifan complied without a struggle, but according to the prosecutor his brother Timothy fled and was pursued by police.
After a short chase of 20 seconds, during which Timothy Epifan lost his flip-flops and was running barefoot, the suspect stopped at the sight of two marked police cars. But while he was standing still, a third and unmarked police car ran into him.
For this arrest with deadly force, Timothy Epifan has now sued both the police and the MPAA, seeking thousands of dollars in damages.
According to the complaint filed at the U.S. District Court of New Jersey, Timothy Epifan was hit from behind and dragged 10 feet into the parking lot.
In a statement the plaintiffs claim the collision “left a 10-foot trail of skid marks, bone, blood and skin,” and as a result “Epifan sustained severe leg fractures, has undergone multiple surgeries, incurred hundreds of thousands in medical bills and now walks with a cane.”
Among other things, the defendants are accused of using deadly force when there was no indication it was needed.
“Using a police motor vehicle to apprehend a suspect who is fleeing on foot by physically striking the suspect to disable and arrest the suspect constitutes deadly force,” the complaint reads.
Epifan, who was sentenced to a year in county jail and three years of probation after pleading guilty last year, hopes to be compensated for the emotional, physical and economical damages he suffered as the result of the violent arrest.