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Philly cop accused of beating handcuffed suspect, sued

The officer allegedly sprayed pepper spray and use his baton on the suspect after he was handcuffed

By Aubrey Whelan
The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia police officer — already on desk duty after being accused of aggressive behavior on patrol — was sued Thursday by a man who says the officer handcuffed him to a fence and beat him with a nightstick.

Officer Philip Nace was pulled off the street this fall after he was seen in two YouTube videos. One showed Nace speaking insultingly to two men during a stop-and-frisk; the other showed him knocking over a basketball hoop.

The lawsuit filed in federal court alleges that in May 2013, Nace grew violent after responding to the scene of a domestic dispute. Daren Devalia, after a fight with his girlfriend, had broken her car window with a tree branch, the suit says, so she called police.

When Nace and his partner, William Barr, arrived, the suit says, they drew their weapons on Devalia, 26. He took two steps as if to flee, but stopped and put his hands up, according to the suit.

Nace and Barr then handcuffed Devalia to a fence, and Nace sprayed him in the face with pepper spray and hit him with his baton, the suit says. Barr also struck Devalia, who suffered a cut to his head that required nine staples to close, according to the suit.

In the lawsuit, filed by civil rights lawyer Jonathan James, Devalia contends that Nace and Barr violated his constitutional rights.

Nace could not be reached for comment. Philadelphia police declined to comment on the filing, saying the department's policy is not to speak about pending lawsuits.

Copyright 2013 The Philadelphia Inquirer

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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