Man sues Harmony, police over arrests

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A Harmony man sued that township and two of its police officers today, saying he was wrongly jailed for nearly five weeks based on an expired warrant from California.

Tyrone Anthony Lett, 43, had an encounter with Harmony police on July 4, 2011, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court by attorney Gianni Floro. That day, police showed up at his house in search of illegal fireworks, and dumped out his garbage, but refused to clean it up, the complaint said.

Then on July 28, an unknown man in a truck picked up Mr. Lett's wife against her will, prompting him to call the police in a panic, it said. The man let her go, but police were mad at him for calling 911 repeatedly, it said. When he argued with his wife upon return home, police arrested him and charged him with simple assault, terroristic threats and harassment, it said.

The charges against him in relation to the incident were dismissed, it said, but police discovered a 2002 bench warrant against Mr. Lett from California. He said the warrant was invalid because he had served out his term of parole, but he was jailed through the end of August anyway.

As a result, he missed work and lost his job, it said.

Mr. Lett has sued the township, Sgt. James Essek and Officer Jason A. Vular for false arrest and malicious prosecution.

The township secretary, police chief and solicitor could not be immediately reached for comment.

Mr. Lett's 20-year history of encounters with law enforcement includes guilty pleas to simple assault, false reports, drunk driving, theft by deception, disorderly conduct and harassment, according to online dockets.

mobilehome - breaking - neigh_north

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord


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