Westport police officer Francis Napert 3rd settled a civil rights suit filed against him one month ago with a payment of $50,350.00. Carl Conforti filed a civil rights lawsuit in United States District Court in Boston on June 28, 2011, alleging Napert falsely arrested him and used excessive force during the arrest.
Mr. Conforti was arrested by off-duty officer Napert when he was assisting his handicapped sister and brother-in-law by collecting wood to heat their home. Napert, who was not on duty or in uniform, arrested Conforti for larceny of wood, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, and cited him for failure to stay within the marked lanes.
At end of the criminal trial Mr. Conforti was found not guilty of all charges. The judge said, “I have absolutely no doubt, not guilty on all the criminal charges and not responsible on the civil infraction.” At trial, Napert testified that he was not aware of a Town Regulation defining tree limbs as debris or trash and after 23 years on the Westport Police Department he testified under oath that he was not familiar with the Police Department’s Policies Manual.
On Jan 30, 2010, Conforti traveled to Westport to help his sister, who is confined to a wheelchair. Conforti made arrangements with his sister’s neighbor to collect fallen branches from the neighbor’s yard, in order to heat his sister’s home. As Conforti drove through his sister’s neighborhood, he was followed and then confronted by Napert, who was off-duty, in civilian clothing and driving his personal vehicle. When Conforti requested to see a badge and photo identification to verify that Napert was an officer, Napert refused, became agitated, and began swearing at Conforti.
Officer Napert allegedly used unreasonable force when he used his hands and knees to force Conforti’s chest to the ground, and broke Conforti’s eyeglasses. Witnesses heard Conforti, a cancer survivor who had tracheal resection surgery, plead for help because he had wires in his chest and he had trouble breathing.
The civil lawsuit, brought by the Law Offices of Howard Friedman, sought money damages for violations of Conforti’s federal and state civil rights. The case settled before trial. Conforti is represented by Boston attorneys Howard Friedman and David Milton of the Law Offices of Howard Friedman, P.C.