Cops Arrest Process Server in Bid to Avoid False Arrest Lawsuit

A Schenectady man was arrested by Schenectady police while trying to serve the city papers relating to a lawsuit claiming false arrest. Matthew Spargo, 21, of East Barne, was employed as a process server with Servico Inc. when he went to the police department to serve notice of a lawsuit against the police officers. On March 9th, Spargo approached the department’s public service window when he was told that officers would not accept the notice. Spargo hung around in the lobby for an officer that would accept the service notice.

Minutes later an officer reportedly approached Spargo and told him that he needed to leave. Spargo declined stating that he needed to serve the notice. The officer turned around and arrested Spargo for trespassing according to the latest lawsuit filed against the city and the police department.

In June a judge dismissed the charge against Spargo with no opposition from the prosecution. The false arrest notice alleges that Spargo was illegally detained, falsely arrested and made claims of malicious prosecution.

According to the Daily Gazette, the underlying lawsuit includes 11 plaintiffs led by a woman named Michelle Sanchez and that a delay of service has become a central issue in the suit.

The Daily Gazette reports:

In a letter explaining the delay in late March, attorney Clotelle Drakeford called the process server “a very nice 21-year-old young man,” and drew parallels from his treatment to the allegations in the underlying lawsuit.

“It is outrageous that this nice young man was manhandled while acting as an agent of an officer of the District Court in attempting to serve process,” Drakeford wrote.

Spargo went to the public window, a completely lawful method of contacting police, Drakeford wrote.

Drakeford also stated that the police and the city’s Corporation Counsel’s office made every attempt to avoid being served which led to Spargo visiting the police station to serve the papers. “The arrest and treatment of this young man is another example of the pattern of abusive behavior by Schenectady Police, as set forth in the Sanchez complaint,” Drakeford said.

In the Sanchez case, officers noticed three individuals walking down Crane Street, which one of whom was wanted on an arrest warrant. When police approached the trio asked police about the warrant as did other onlookers who approached the fracas, including Sanchez, the mother of the wanted individual.

The ensuing melee resulted in multiple allegations from the 11 plaintiffs of false arrest and excessive force and a host of other claims.

Sanchez’ lawsuit claims that she identified herself to police when she arrived on the scene. After identifying herself as the individual’s mother she inquired about the nature of the warrant. According to the lawsuit, two investigators arrived on the scene and shortly thereafter she was shoved against a car and knocked to the ground by one of the officers. Sanchez fell face-first into a mound of snow and ice stated the complaint. She suffered an orbital fracture, headaches and bruises, from the heavy handed police tactics she was subjected to. The complaint also makes note that video of the encounter proves Sanchez’ innocence as well as that of others involved in the case.

As is customary, the city has denied any wrongdoing. The case is currently pending.

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