Suit Alleges Philly Police Brutalized, Robbed Auto Mechanic: “This Is A .40 Caliber Glock And I Will Blow Your Head Off With It”
Courthouse News Service reports on a federal lawsuit filed by Warren Layre and Michael Tierney, co-owners of a Philly auto shop, who say police knocked in Layre’s teeth and robbed him of $34,000 during a 2011 raid. The defendants include the City of Philadelphia and five officers: Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Brian Speiser, Michael Spicer, and Lt. Robert Otto—a group of officers also named as unreliable witnesses in a series of drug cases recently dismissed by city prosecutors.
The suit—filed last Thursday, but which didn’t come to light until today—says the officers entered the shop without a warrant on June 23, 2011 using a battering ram. Officers then ransacked the shop looking for money and contraband. The following account comes directly from the lawsuit:
Officer Reynolds told plaintiff Layre that he was an FBI agent and he had been driving all day from a case in Virginia and that he was in a bad mood and that he would ‘shoot you [Plaintiff Layre] in the head, myself…
Defendant Officer Liciardello then demanded to know from plaintiff Layre where all the money and drugs were hidden. When plaintiff Layre said that he didn’t know what the officer was talking about, defendant Officer Liciardello struck plaintiff Layre on the back of the head with a steel pipe, which caused plaintiff Layre to lose consciousness.
While plaintiff Layre was lying on the floor of the auto shop and beginning to regain consciousness, defendant Officer Liciardello again demanded to know where the money and drugs were hidden. Defendant Officer Liciardello then kicked plaintiff Layre in the mouth, causing the front upper row of plaintiff Layer’s teeth to separate from their roots and to bend back toward his throat. Subsequently, the entire upper room of plaintiff Layre’s teeth had to be extracted by a dentist.
Defendant Officer Liciardello then kicked plaintiff Layre twice in the scrotum. The second kick dislocated plaintiff Layre’s index finger.
Defendant Officer Liciardello then placed his service firearm to the head of plaintiff Layre and said, ‘This is a .40 caliber Glock and I will blow your head off with it, you stinkin’ drug junkie, if you don’t tell me where the money and drugs are.’
When Plaintiff Layre, who was by then seriously injured, did not respond, defendant Officer Liciardello took one of plaintiff Layre’s BB guns from the shop, loaded it, and shot the windshields of several of the vehicles on the premises. Defendant Officer Liciardello then said, ‘We’ll keep going until one gets your attention.’
The suit alleges the officers took $34,000 made from the sale of scrap metal. The officers eventually seized the shop and filed a petition to possess it as an illicit drug property, according to the suit. Layre and Tierney deny they were in the drug business. They are represented by Jay Feinschil.
Here’s the complaint they filed: