$270,000 Awarded to Grandmother Brutalized by Pennsylvania Cops
by Ed Lyon
Peacefully sleeping the night away, grandmother Charlene Klein was rudely awakened by Allentown, Pennsylvania, cops beating on her door on May 2, 2016. A law-abiding citizen, she opened her front door in response to the Knights in Blue’s persistent pounding, only to find herself entering one of her absolute worst nightmares, while now wide awake.
On Klein’s front porch stood officers Stephen Madison and Christopher Hendricks. In her front yard stood officers Michael Good and Jacoby Glenny amidst a phalanx of other cops. Without preamble, Madison first asked Klein if her son was there and then if cops could search her home.
Klein asked if they had either a warrant to arrest her son or to search her home. When Madison admitted to having no warrants, Klein refused entry into her home and attempted to close the screen door.
As Klein tried to close the screen door, Madison reached out his hand to prevent the closure. His finger was caught and slightly pinched. Madison then jerked the screen door open, grabbed the petite, 4 feet, 11-inch tall grandmother by her shoulders and bully-handled her outside to the porch. With Madison on one of the tiny woman’s arms and Hendricks on the other, they pulled them behind her back so forcefully she would later require surgery to repair the damage. Then they ran her into a concrete wall.
While the two cops were brutalizing and handcuffing the grandmother, Good and Glenny led other cops to invade her home attempting to find her son who was not there.
Madison’s pinched finger culminated in an aggravated assault charge for the seriously injured grandmother. It was later dismissed. An internal investigation exonerated the cops from any wrongdoing.
Attorney Robert Goldman represented Klein in a federal lawsuit over the matter. The police department’s exoneration of the bully cops did not faze the jury even a small bit as they found in Klein’s favor on a number of claims. Surprisingly they found the former police chief liable for failing to supervise his cops and against the city, also finding its policies were deliberately indifferent to its citizens’ constitutional rights. The jury further found that Hendricks, Good, and Glenny were liable for both the unconstitutional invasion and search of Klein’s home, failing to intervene to stop the cops assaulting Klein, and for an overall conspiracy to violate her constitutional rights.
The total damage award by the jury was $270,000. The amount of the jury award, in relation to the misbehavior of these out-of-control cops, is an injustice in itself.