Federal lawsuit against Wallingford police officer alleges excessive force

Federal lawsuit against Wallingford police officer alleges excessive force

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WALLINGFORD — A Florida woman is seeking $775,000 from the town through a federal lawsuit, claiming she suffered a broken wrist after a local police officer arrested her.

The lawsuit was filed last month against the town and former Wallingford Police Officer David Gallo individually. No court date has been set.

Gallo, 28, was hired by the Wallingford Police Department as a probationary officer in August 2013. He left in July 2017 after he was offered a position in the Seymour Police Department.

Gallo could not be reached for comment. Seymour Police and Seymour town officials didn’t return calls for comment.

According to court documents, Traci Fittanto, who formerly lived in Southbury, claims Gallo violated her Fourth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights during her arrest for evading responsibility after a motor vehicle collision.

On April 12, 2016, Fittanto reportedly was involved in a car crash in Wallingford and left the scene of the accident.

Gallo located Fittanto’s vehicle in Middlefield at Coginchaug Market, 482 Main St., and identified Fittanto, who was standing outside of her vehicle, by her driver’s license. 

Fittanto performed “a few tests to see if she was safe to drive,” court documents state, but Gallo determined she was unable to drive. He then placed Fittanto into a police cruiser for transport to Wallingford for police processing.

Fittanto reportedly “became unruly” en route to Wallingford, court documents state, and Gallo warned her to stop.

Fittanto complied, but several minutes later began to act unruly again, at which point Gallo stopped his vehicle and opened the rear door of the cruiser.

Fittanto “extended both her middle fingers upward” as she leaned forward to exit the vehicle, court documents state.

Gallo reportedly grabbed Fittanto, pulled her forward and onto the ground, and then placed his foot and knee on her head, shoulders and mid-back while placing her in handcuffs.

Court documents cite Gallo’s police report and a use of force report, which reportedly state that Fittanto “came out with her hands clenched in fists and in a fighting stance.”

Gallo also asserted that he “grabbed Fittanto’s right wrist and her left tricep in an attempt to prevent her from throwing a punch,” court documents state.

As a result of the incident, Fittanto claims she suffered a left wrist fracture, as well as general emotional and physical pain. She also claims she incurred medical costs, lost wages and other financial harm, court documents state.

Wallingford Police spokesperson Lt. Cheryl Bradley said Monday that police won’t release the arrest report and other related records since the criminal case against Fittanto was dismissed.

Twitter: @LCTakores

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