Lowell police detective with history of aggressive behavior is sued for excessive force

On January 30, 2012, the firm filed a civil rights lawsuit alleging that Lowell police detective Stephen Ciavola used excessive and unreasonable force against our client Cindy Thach. Check out this article in the Lowell Sun or read about the case below.

On July 6, 2009, Ms. Thach agreed to meet Lowell Detective Ciavola and Massachusetts State Police Trooper Erik Gagnon at a church to discuss a recent shooting about which the officers wrongly believed she had information. Ms. Thach was 18 years old. When Ms. Thach arrived at the church, Ciavola and Gagnon directed Ms. Thach to get into a cruiser and brought her to an interrogation room at the Lowell police station. Refusing to believe Ms. Thach did not have information about the shooting, the officers yelled and cursed and threatened Ms. Thach. Ciavola threw a trash can across the room. When Ms. Thach stood up, he shoved her back in her chair. The officers forcefully held Ms. Thach in the chair and tipped it back as if to make her fall. Ciavola punched Ms. Thach in the mouth, drawing blood. The officers then let go of the chair, causing injuries to Ms. Thach’s ankle. In addition to her physical injuries, the abuse caused Ms. Thach emotional distress.

Ciavola has a long history of misconduct and violent behavior, both before and after he was hired as a Lowell police officer. The City of Lowell is sued for its policies or customs of tolerating the use of unreasonable and excessive force and for failure to supervise and discipline problem officers like Ciavola. These policies or customs permitted Ciavola to continue to commit misconduct as a police officer even though the City was aware of his history of aggressive behavior.

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