The Examiner

New Castle Hit With $20M Federal Lawsuit in Arrest at Meeting

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The Chappaqua resident who was arrested last year outside a New Castle Planning Board meeting after he was ejected from the room recently had a $20 million federal lawsuit filed against the town on his behalf.

Will Wedge is seeking compensatory and punitive damages of $10 million each stemming from the the Jan. 16, 2018, incident where he uttered a profanity during a discussion on the controversial Sunshine Children’s Home expansion project at that night’s meeting. Defendants also include the town’s police department and the responding officers, Sgt. Kelly Close and Sgt. Mary Hansen.

Wedge’s attorney, Robert Berkowitz, said the case will prove that the police were at fault for escalating the situation.

“The evidence will show that it was a clear overreaction by the Town of New Castle police force for the event that took place,” Berkowitz said.

During public discussion, Wedge argued before the Planning Board that the town had failed to conduct proper oversight of the Sunshine Home, which was found to have done unauthorized work on its Spring Valley Road property a couple months earlier.

In response, the attorney for the board that night, Jennifer Gray, refuted Wedge’s assertion, saying the town hadn’t abdicated responsibility in supervising the applicant and the project. At that point, Wedge called out from his seat bull—-.

Planning Board Chairman Robert Kirkwood immediately told Wedge to leave the meeting room. When Wedge apologized but refused to leave, the police were summoned from their downstairs headquarters to escort him out.

Following a discussion between Wedge and the officers in the lobby, they ushered him down the staircase at Town Hall.

Moments later Wedge could be heard yelling, where he was being handcuffed just outside the Town Hall doors. According to the suit, “as plaintiff William Wedge reached the downstairs lobby he was shoved towards and through the doors of the premises by New Castle Police Sergeant Kelly Close. Once outside, plaintiff William Wedge was tackled and propelled to the ground by New Castle Police Sergeant Kelly Close. As a result of this incident, plaintiff William Wedge sustained numerous injuries, including but not limited to injuries to his shoulder and a broken thumb.”

John Walsh, the attorney representing the town in the case, called the suit “a rather mundane matter.” He said Wedge became “belligerent” and “uncooperative” with police.

“Why he wants to take it out on police, I’m not really sure, but he didn’t want to be escorted out of the building by police officers, I suppose,” Walsh said. “Most people just cooperate and walk out quietly and peacefully.”

He brushed aside Wedge seeking $10 million each in compensatory and punitive damages, saying that it has “no bearing on reality, whatsoever.”

Wedge was charged with two counts of harassment, resisting arrest, obstruction of governmental administration and disorderly conduct. On Feb. 7, he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a violation. He was fined $250.

Berkowitz said the plea could compromise a few of the actions that are outlined in the lawsuit, but wasn’t prepared to speculate which ones could be jeopardized.

The actions listed include deprivation of civil rights, excessive force, malicious abuse of process, failure to intervene, municipal liability, false arrest, false imprisonment, assault, battery, malicious abuse of process and intentional infliction and negligent infliction of emotional distress.





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