Psychologist sues city for 100G, alleging beating by cop earlier this year

A psychologist doing research on addiction has sued the city of Philadelphia and a police officer he says attacked him in North Philadelphia and beat him so severely his eye socket was partially crushed.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey also was named in the federal civil-rights lawsuit filed Friday by Anthony Abrams, a Ph.D. and director of mental-health services at the Bucks County Correctional Facility.

Police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore said authorities could not comment on the suit because an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Abrams himself was initially charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct in an attempted coverup, according to the lawsuit, but the charges were dismissed.

The police officer, Eric Burke, could not immediately be reached.

The suit seeks in excess of $100,000 in compensatory and punitive damages stemming from the beating, which allegedly took place around 5:30 p.m. March 8 at 5th and York streets.

Abrams was doing research for a federally funded "motivational interview study" being conducted by the University of New Mexico's Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions at the time of the beating, the suit said.

Abrams said he had arranged to meet a patient for an interview at 5th and York streets and when she didn't show up, he asked another woman if she knew where the patient was.

The lawsuit gives the following account of what happened next:

The other woman told him to follow her around a corner, then demanded money and Abrams gave her $20. But instead of leading him to his patient, she walked away. He asked for his money back but when he couldn't get it, returned to his car.

Burke then pulled up and "exclaimed in a loud voice . . . 'you get over here.' "

Burke asked what he was doing in the area and Abrams told him he was a psychologist and was looking for his patient.

Burke threw Abrams to the ground, banging his head on the street, and placed his foot on Abrams head and said, "Tell me what you're doing here or I'll kick your f---ing head in."

Burke allegedly kicked Abrams in the face several times, then pulled him up by his shoulders and punched him in the right eye.

Burke never asked for identification or told Abrams why he was being arrested, and Abrams was never uncooperative, the suit said.

Abrams suffered a crushed orbital floor bone of the eye socket and required a metal implant behind the eyeball. He continues to see double at times through the injured eye, the suit said.