Nantucket Police Officer Sued for Tackling Man, Fracturing his Skull

On Wednesday, we filed a civil rights lawsuit in the United States District Court in Boston on behalf of Eric Kaminskas (now 39) against Nantucket police officer John Hubbard for using excessive and unreasonable force, resulting in a fractured skull and traumatic brain injury.

The lawsuit alleges that on September 4, 2011, Labor Day weekend, at around 1:00 a.m., officer Hubbard was investigating a report of an altercation inside the Chicken Box nightclub. Hubbard approached Kaminskas outside the Chicken Box to question him about the earlier incident. Although Mr. Kaminskas was not a threat to anyone’s safety, Hubbard tackled Kaminskas, slamming him down so that his head hit the pavement. His head hit the pavement with so much force that the bones in his right frontal skull sinus broke into pieces.

Mr. Kaminskas said he was “stunned” by the blow. He was shocked that a police officer would use such extreme force.

A witness to the incident called 911 to report that she saw Hubbard take Kaminskas down and she heard Kaminskas’s skull hit the pavement. The witness told the 911 dispatcher that this was very upsetting to watch and that the officer “obviously is completely incompetent.”

Kaminskas was briefly treated at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital then he was airlifted to Massachusetts General Hospital where they performed a cranialization, a complex surgery to repair the damage to his skull.

The lawsuit alleges that Hubbard lied in his police report to cover up his actions. Hubbard claims he was holding Kaminskas and guided him to the pavement. However, Kaminskas’s head hit the pavement with tremendous force, causing both the front and back walls of his frontal sinus to fracture into multiple pieces. His brain was so swollen that the doctors had to wait three days before they could operate.

Kaminskas now has titanium mesh and screws holding the fragments of his skull in place. He suffered a traumatic brain injury, causing deficits in his working memory as well as difficulty in attention, concentration, and visual motor processing speed. He has experienced frequent headaches and recurrent nightmares.

The lawsuit seeks money damages for violations of Kaminskas’s federal and state civil rights. The case is Eric Kaminskas v. John Hubbard, C.A. No. 12-11144-MLW in the United States District Court in Boston.

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