WALLINGFORD — A Florida woman recently filed an amended complaint as part of a federal lawsuit against the town and a police officer.
Traci Fittanto, who used to live in Southbury, is seeking $775,000, claiming she suffered a broken wrist during her arrest for evading responsibility after a motor vehicle collision in 2016.
The original complaint against the town and former Wallingford Police Officer David Gallo was filed April 12.
It stated that Fittanto’s Fourth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by Gallo’s use of excessive force, and that the police department allows an environment of police brutality. The Fourth Amendment covers protections against unreasonable search and seizure and the Fourteenth Amendment covers the right to due process.
The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure, and the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits denying a citizen of liberty without due process.
On June 17, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss the claim that Fittanto’s Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by the town, as well as the claim about an environment of police brutality.
The motion to dismiss stated that there was no “plausible Fourteenth Amendment claim” nor a “plausible claim as against the town,” and that the claim failed to contain any specific allegations of deficiencies in training, prior instances of force or discipline.
Fittanto’s amended complaint, filed July 31, only states that Fittanto’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated by Gallo.
On Aug. 1, the defendants filed an answer to the amended complaint, which stated that Gallo’s actions “were objectively reasonable” and that “he enjoys qualified immunity from all liability.”
On Aug. 6, after Fittanto amended her complaint, Judge Warren W. Eginton found moot the defendants’ motion to dismiss.Summary of arrest
According to the complaint, Fittanto was involved in a car crash in Wallingford and reportedly left the scene of the accident on April 12, 2016.
Gallo located Fittanto’s vehicle in Middlefield and had her perform “a few tests to see if she was safe to drive,” court documents said.
Gallo determined she was unable to drive and placed Fittanto into a police cruiser. After two outbursts of unruly behavior en route to Wallingford, 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 said, and Gallo reportedly pulled her onto the ground, and then placed his foot and knee on her head, shoulders and mid-back while placing her in handcuffs.
The charges against Fittanto were eventually dropped. She claims she suffered a left wrist fracture and incurred medical costs, lost wages and other financial harm, court documents said.
Wallingford police won’t release the arrest report or other related records since the criminal case against Fittanto was dismissed.
Gallo was hired by the Wallingford Police Department as a probationary officer in August 2013. He left in July 2017 and began that month in the the Seymour Police Department.