A Kingston man is suing two city cops who, he claims, used excessive force on him in a 2015 encounter on a Midtown street. The suit, filed in federal court in Albany by Fabian Marshall, alleges that KPD officers Jeremy Arciello and Michael Mills violated his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution in the incident, during which he was flung to the ground and tased. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
The incident, which occurred on Sept. 4, 2015, garnered attention last year when, with backing from the activist group Rise Up Kingston, Marshall filed a formal complaint with the city’s police commission. A cell phone video shot by Marshall that captured portions of his run-in with police was widely shared on social media.
The police commission would later clear both officers of wrongdoing in the case. In November, following a trial in Kingston City Court, Marshall was found guilty of a single charge of obstructing governmental administration. The same jury acquitted Marshall of resisting arrest.
The incident occurred on Broadway as police were investigating an incident in which an elderly man was shoved off a bike. According to the complaint filed by New Paltz attorney Christopher D. Watkins, the suspect in the assault was described as a “short, bald, middle-aged African-American male wearing red shorts and a white T-shirt.” According to the complaint, that description was transmitted by Mills on a police radio frequency as “a light-skinned black male wearing red shorts and a white T-shirt.” Marshall is a tall, thin African-American man with shoulder-length hair. At the time of the incident he was 25 years old and dressed in red shorts and white T-shirt.
According to the compliant, Arciello approached Marshall asking, “What happened?” When Marshall professed ignorance, the complaint claims, Arciello replied “you were involved” and demanded that he get on the sidewalk. The complaint alleges that Arciello grew “demonstrably angry” when Marshall turned on his phone’s camera and began recording the encounter. A police dash-cam video shows Marshall turning and beginning to walk away from Arciello who then tackles him to the ground. Marshall would later say that he turned away to move onto the sidewalk to a nearby wall to continue the field interview.
According to the complaint, Arciello placed him a necklock and punched him in the body and head while he was on the ground. The complaint further states that when Mills arrived on the scene he approached Marshall, who was being held down by Arciello, and “stun-tased” him 15 times, causing “great pain and agony.” The complaint alleges that the actual perpetrator of the assault which touched off the police response can be seen in the police dash-cam video running from the scene as the two officers beat and tased Marshall. Marshall would later seek treatment at Northern Dutchess Hospital for contusions to his face and an injured right shoulder.
The complaint alleges that Marshall did not offer any resistance during the encounter, making Arciello and Mills’ action a clear case of excessive force.