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Philadelphia Street Musician Files Another Lawsuit Against Police

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(Felix Wilkins, in 2010 file photo by Michelle Alton -- http://maltonphotos.zenfolio.com.  Used with permission)

(Felix Wilkins, in 2010 file photo by Michelle Alton — http://maltonphotos.zenfolio.com. Used with permission)

Michelle Durham Michelle Durham
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By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 72-year-old street musician has filed a lawsuit against the Philadelphia Police Department and the Reading Terminal Market.  He claims he was removed from the sidewalk outside the historic market while playing his flute last January.

“Felix was abducted from in front of the Reading Terminal, where he has a legal and constitutional right to perform, by two Philadelphia police officers, handcuffed without any idea where he was going, and eventually dropped off at Love Park,” says Evan Shingles, an attorney representing Felix Wilkins.

Philadelphia police spokesman Lt. John Stanford says no complaint preceded the lawsuit.

“Internal Affairs had not been notified. There was never any type of formal complaint filed,” Stanford told KYW Newsradio today.

Paul Steinke, general manager of Reading Terminal Market, seemed equally caught off guard.

“We are also trying to gather the facts about what may or may not have happened,” he told KYW Newsradio this afternoon.

Shingles, the attorney, claims Wilkins is not a nuisance and has had his civil rights violated — yet again.

“This isn’t the first time that Felix has had these types of issues.  He has successfully sued the city and won twice in the past for violating his constitutional right to perform in a public place. And the sidewalk outside Reading Terminal is such a place.”

Shingles adds that the police damaged Wilkins’ flute during the incident.

Stanford and Steinke acknowledge they have been notified about the lawsuit and say they are both eager to find out what happened.

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