A Levittown man was bum-rushed by security staffers at a Philadelphia Eagles game after he chanted a “good-natured” obscenity at an undercover police officer, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.
Gary Strain and his wife Margaretta, longtime Eagles season ticketholders, visited Lincoln Financial Field in December to watch the Eagles play the Arizona Cardinals.
As the couple climbed to their upper-level seats, Gary Strain “jokingly chanted in an elongated and good-natured tone ‘a––––––’ to a male below him wearing a Cardinals jersey,” the lawsuit states.
The “Cardinals fan," it turned out, was actually an undercover police officer, according to the complaint.
The suit states Gary Strain was “immediately surrounded” by police and security officers, then “forcefully and violently taken to the ground” by three men.
The force allegedly caused his head to slam into the ground, resulting in a laceration and a severe contusion to his elbow.
When Margaretta Strain “saw her husband being taken violently to the ground for no reason,” she yelled for the officers to stop, telling them her husband was on blood thinners and that any cut could cause medical problems, the lawsuit claims.
A security guard and a police officer allegedly shoved her against the railing of the ramp and pulled her arms back.
Both Strains were taken to a substation, where they were allegedly kept in a cell for an hour before being released with disorderly conduct citations.
When they appeared in court several days later, they claim, their cases were not listed.
The suit, which names Eagles Stadium Operators, LLC and Apex Security Group, along with one security guard and one police officer, claims both plaintiffs were forced to seek medical treatment and unable to return to work for over a week.
Margaretta Strain still suffers neck pain, while Gary Strain “continues to suffer severe pain radiating down his arm and neck which requires continuing medical treatment,” the complaint states.
The plaintiffs are asking for more than $50,000 in damages to compensate them for attorney’s fees and medical treatment, as well as punitive damages for what they claim constitutes assault and battery, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.
Neither the plaintiffs nor the defendants could be immediately reached for comment.
Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.
Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.