Their superiors took action after they complained about the behavior of the fellow police officer who admitted Tasering a handcuffed teenager.
However, instead of disciplining Trevor Parham, the officials acted against the four current and former Colwyn, Delaware County, officers, they allege in a federal lawsuit.
In addition, Colwyn resident Maurice J. Clark Sr., 64, claims in the suit, filed Thursday in Philadelphia, that nine months before the Tasering incident, he had been harassed repeatedly by Parham and jailed wrongly.
Parham, said Jonathan James, attorney for the plaintiffs, "just decided to go after him." The other plaintiffs are Officer Clinton Craddock and Lt. Wesley Seitz, and former Officers Kevin E. Banks Sr. and Bryant K. Sterling.
Banks and Sterling have been dismissed from the force, Craddock is on paid administrative leave, and Seitz remains on duty.
"I'm surprised to see that police officers still working for the borough and receiving paychecks are suing," said Colwyn Solicitor Gregg L. Zeff. In addition to the borough, the complaint names Parham; Deputy Police Chief Wendell Reed; his administrative assistant, Sherri Bedford; and Council President Tonette Pray.
"We're still investigating," Zeff said of the suit's claims. Asked if the suit had merits, he said, "At this time, I see none."
Parham is at the center of the suit's allegations. The District Attorney's Office charged him last month with Tasering a handcuffed 17-year-old shackled in a jail cell, and then allegedly making fun of the incident in a text message to another officer.
The suit says that during a meeting, Pray vowed that whoever leaked accounts of the Taser episode to reporters would be fired. Seitz later was placed on leave, "based on allegations of misconduct involving taking 'an internal personnel matter directly to the press,' " the suit says.
Months before, Parham had harassed Clark, threatened to beat him, shouted obscenities at him, and had him imprisoned falsely, the suit says.
After Banks complained to Reed about Parham's actions related to Clark, the suit said, Banks was placed on foot patrol and later dismissed. As for Craddock, the suit says he had submitted photos of Parham that showed a liquor bottle between his legs in a police car.
The suit seeks unspecified damages.