February 14, 2012
The town of Cicero has settled a police brutality suit for $4,500. The suit, filed in federal court by resident Albert Merola Jr., alleged that Cicero Police Officer James Snell assaulted him during an improper arrest.
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The town of Cicero has agreed to settle a $2 million lawsuit filed by a town resident in federal court for a fraction of that amount. At its regular board meeting Wednesday Feb. 8, the town board authorized Supervisor Jim Corl to sign a confidential settlement agreement regarding Merola v. Town of Cicero et al. Albert Merola Jr. of Brewerton sued the town of Cicero, the Cicero Police Department and Officer James Snell in federal court on March 23, 2011. The suit alleged that Snell assaulted Merola during an attempt to arrest him without cause on April 12, 2010. Merola, who was permanently disabled in a work accident in 2000, wears a neck brace; he alleged in the lawsuit that Snell continued to harass him after the incident, pulling him over without cause on April 17, 2010 and attempting to charge him with driving while intoxication, but letting him go after three box tests revealed that Merola wasn’t intoxicated. Merola originally sought $1 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages, plus attorneys’ fees. Instead, the town will pay Merola $4,500. The town’s insurance company will actually cut the check; the town is responsible for a $2,500 deductible.