by Walt Hunter
LEVITTOWN, Pa., (CBS) – A Levittown couple describes the terrifying moments as, they claim, a Sergeant from the Bucks County Sheriff’s Department roughed them up, then falsely arrested them inside their home.
Samantha Doneker and Philip Romanek, in a civil lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, claim they were jailed and the former Sergeant, Gary Browndorf, lied under oath, attempting to convict them of crimes that would have left them in prison for years.
Ms. Doneker, who had never been arrested, spent four days behind bars until bail was posted, claiming in the complaint the emotional trauma led to a miscarriage.
Sergeant Browndorf, and four other deputies, originally came to the home to arrest Romanek on charges connect to an earlier DUI arrest.
After a Bucks County Grand Jury began looking into the incident, charges against both Doneker and Romanek were dropped. Browndorf was then charged – and convicted – of perjury and simple assault, serving three months of a six to 12 month sentence.
Browndorf’s attorney, Nino Tinari, claims the lawsuit is financially motivated, and, in his words, is making a “mountain out of a molehill”. Tinari points out that Browndorf was acquitted of several charges, including all allegations involving Ms. Doneker.
The couple’s attorney, Alan Feldman, says the suit reveals that the system failed the couple and that improvements must be made in guidelines on how arrests should be made and reported.
Bucks County officials, citing pending litigation, declined comment.