City attorneys have recommended paying a Buffalo man $6,000 to settle his police brutality claim against the city and two police officers.
The money would close the case, which has never come to trial but has been tied up in legal complications.
In a letter to the Common Council, Corporation Counsel Samuel F. Houston recommended awarding the settlement to Philip J. Sanok of 64 Brinkman St.
The money would settle Sanok's cases against the city and against police Lt. Michael Smith and Officer Robert Ransford.
Attorney Robert Dwyer, who represents Sanok, could not be reached to comment.
Sanok claimed Smith and Ransford used excessive force in arresting him on disorderly conduct charges during a neighborhood dispute in March 1988.
The officers' affidavits say Sanok attacked Ransford after he and Smith arrived at the scene of a fight at 77 Woltz Ave. shortly before 3 a.m., according to city attorney Paul Murak.
Ransford said in his affidavit that he swung at Sanok in self-defense, striking him on the forehead. Sanok's head hit an adjacent wall and was cut.
Smith said in his affidavit he pulled Sanok off Ransford.
Murak said Sanok claimed nightsticks were used on him after he was handcuffed. The officers' affidavits say nightsticks were not used in the arrest.
"That's the sad saga," Murak said. "There's no question about the officers' conduct."
Murak said the city disputed the way in which the city and the police officers in question were notified of the suit.
Murak said the officers, who worked in Precinct 8, were served their court summonses at the main precinct on Franklin Street and not at their precinct office.
"We believed that service was improper," Murak said.
The court disagreed, Murak said, and awarded a default judgment against the city and the officers in June 1989.
The city asked the court to overturn the judgment, but those efforts were denied in early April.
By then, Murak said, the city's attorneys were talking about settling the city's case with Sanok's lawyers.