Essex County

25 Investigates: Lawrence Police Captain ‘clotheslined’ detainee, according to lawsuit

LAWRENCE, Mass. — A lawsuit filed in federal court in Boston accuses a Lawrence Police Captain of using excessive force on a man in custody. In May, 25 Investigates reported Lawrence Police Captain Michael Mangan had been placed on leave for his treatment of a city resident in a basement booking area.

29-year-old Sodiq Folarin Amusat of Merrimack Street was arrested in March after a neighbor complained about loud music coming from his apartment at three o’clock in the morning. While questioning officers about his arrest, surveillance video shows Captain Mangan take Amusat to the ground. According to the complaint, Mangan “suddenly and without warning, viciously ‘clotheslined’ Mr. Amusat” and drove his “head into a metal door and onto the concrete floor.” Surveillance images included in the lawsuit show Mangan using his right arm to knock Amusat backward and to the floor.

Lawrence City Attorney Timothy Houten said he was aware of the lawsuit but had not seen it.

He said the city has hired an outside investigator to review the incident and determine if the level of force used was appropriate.

“If there’s a claim of excessive force, we investigate, we don’t jump to conclusions,” Houten said.

25 Investigates obtained a report Captain Mangan wrote about the incident shortly after it happened. The lawsuit references a portion of that report where Mangan states Amasut provoked his response. Mangan wrote that Amasut, “threw his outstretched right arm to grab at my face with his fingers in a grabbing motion.” Surveillance images included in the lawsuit do not show Amasut engaging Mangan.

City attorney Houten said, “That’s going to be reviewed by the investigator. I’m not a police officer. I can just read the facts that he presents. The person we hired is an expert in police procedure and will tell us if it’s an appropriate report and whether the facts put in there are substantiated.”

Mangan was allowed to work for nearly two months after the incident. The lawsuit accuses the Lawrence Police Department of failing to act against him until word of the incident began to spread. According to the lawsuit, a use of force report was not filed until, “more than two months after the incident involving Mr. Amusat and only after local media began to report about the incident.” The suit references Boston 25′s coverage.

Mangan did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement, The Lawrence Superior Officers Union said, “This use of force incident is under investigation by an independent investigator, hired by the city. Capt. Mangan is a highly respected superior officer with an unblemished record and we look forward to due process. This union fully supports our member.”

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