CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — The state police corporal accused of assaulting a handcuffed Fannett Township man last year allegedly swore at the victim and threatened to "hog-tie" him during what began as a mental health commitment.
Christian D. Fow, 43, Shippensburg, was suspended without pay Tuesday after being charged with simple assault, according to Pennsylvania State Police spokesperson Maria Finn.
The patrol supervisor with PSP Chambersburg was notified of the criminal charge via summons, so a preliminary arraignment will not take place. Magisterial District Judge David Plum has not yet set a date for the preliminary hearing, which is to be conducted at his office in Pleasant Hall.
Franklin County District Attorney Matthew Fogal referred the case to the attorney general's office due to a potential conflict of interest. Special Agent Daniel Hasenauer of the attorney general's Bureau of Criminal Investigations prepared an affidavit based on his findings.
Fow is accused of pepper-spraying Christopher Broadwater, 52, in the face and physically assaulting him after he was restrained in the back of a patrol car Sept. 29, 2010. The car's Mobile Video Recorder (MVR) reportedly captured footage of the incident.
According to an affidavit filed against Broadwater last year, police were sent to his Path Valley Road home after receiving calls from a nurse care manager from Humana Insurance and someone with Franklin County Crisis Intervention.
The callers reported that Broadwater "felt the local garage had overcharged him for car repair work and he indicated he felt like assaulting the owner with a baseball bat and then burning down the business," according to the affidavit filed against Fow.
Broadwater told Public Opinion this week that he made a remark about wanting to slap the mechanic in the head with his cane. He said he was watching television in his underwear when police arrived.
The affidavit states that Broadwater is known to suffer from manic depression and bipolar disorder.
Trooper Kevin Goss was working the desk at the Chambersburg state police station that evening and spoke to him on the phone, according to the affidavit. Broadwater allegedly threatened to harm the mechanic and any police who showed up, saying that he was going to "bash their heads in."
Case workers with Humana and Crisis Intervention decided that Broadwater should be taken to Chambersburg Hospital, voluntarily or involuntarily, for a mental health evaluation.
Broadwater told Public Opinion that he was met at his front door by five troopers, but both affidavits indicate that three were initially sent to his home; Troopers Nathan Drayer, Ralph Hockenberry and Nathan Swink.
Drayer and Hockenberry arrived first. They were speaking with him on the front porch when Swink drove by. Broadwater allegedly "became paranoid and said he wasn't going anywhere with them."
He then went back inside, closing the front door on Drayer's leg and injuring his knee, according to the affidavit. The trooper fell onto the floor of the porch and "had to crawl to safety."
Broadwater would later be charged with assaulting Drayer, but claims the trooper actually injured himself by slipping off the porch and stepping into a dog food bowl.
The affidavit states that after Drayer was injured, Hockenberry and Swink began commanding Broadwater to comply with them so they could take him into custody. He allegedly ignored their orders until they Tased him, handcuffed him and placed him in the car.
The 29 minutes of MVR footage show that Broadwater had no apparent injuries when he was first placed in the car, according to the affidavit filed against Fow. He complained about his handcuffs and was moving around.
Hockenberry and Swink checked the handcuffs and determined they were not too tight. They warned Broadwater to stop moving around. Fow eventually arrived and addressed the detained man.
"You keep trying to get out of those handcuffs; we are going to hog-tie you if you keep trying to get out of them," Fow said, according to the affidavit.
"You've already hurt a trooper. You're going to jail tonight," he allegedly said. "You're in some trouble, so calm yourself down. You're not going to the hospital. You are going to jail."
The video shows Broadwater continuing to move his restraints and saying, "I'm not trying to get loose. They are just hurting me bad, that's why I'm moving, sir. Please. Please."
Fow told Hasenauer that he did not examine the handcuffs at any point, explaining that "he exercised faith that his troopers both patted down Broadwater for weapons and secured him properly both in the handcuffs and in the rear of the patrol unit."
While Fow was behind the car talking to an EMT named Richard Schur, Broadwater was still moving in the back of the car and complaining about the handcuffs.
The video shows Fow approaching the rear of the car and opening the door, then Broadwater turns his head toward the corporal. He began saying "trying to get some relief," at which point he was pepper-sprayed and started screaming "Oh, God!"
Broadwater turned his face down, out of the camera's view and facing Fow, who is heard saying, "Stop (expletive) with the (expletive) handcuffs! Do you understand?"
According to the affidavit, Fow paused after saying the word "stop" and "a smacking sound is heard." The corporal told Hasenauer that he "checked" the man in the head.
"Broadwater immediately reacted to the impact and pepper spray by screaming wildly and moving away from Fow's position," the affidavit states. When he came back into the camera's view, blood was dripping from his face.
The footage shows Broadwater releasing his seat belt, moving toward the open door and getting out of the car, according to the affidavit.
He told Public Opinion that he fell out of the car.
What happened next was not captured by the MVR.
He is heard screaming while Fow is commanding him to "stay still" and "don't (expletive) move!"
Hasenauer interviewed Swink in June. The trooper said that he "heard a noise" and went to the rear of the car. He found Fow and Broadwater in a struggle, and the corporal ordered him to stun the man with his Taser.
Broadwater claims that after he fell out of the car, all the police on scene began assaulting him. The affidavit does not include any indication that happened.
Asked whether Broadwater's allegations are under investigation, the attorney general's spokesperson Nils Frederiksen said he cannot confirm or deny the existence of ongoing investigations.
He said the video footage cited in the affidavit is evidence for trial and cannot legally be made publicly available prior to trial.