The federal complaint can be found here. The media story about the lawsuit is here. I’ve read over the complaint. In addition to suing over the February 2011 incident last year, he’s also suing over two prior incidents with the Philadelphia police. He’s suing up the chain of command to reach Ramsey, the Philadelphia Police Commissioner. Section 1983 doesn’t just allow you to sue the individual officers, you can sue all the way up the chain to anyone responsible for overseeing and training officers. The agents of the PPD are being sued in their individual capacities, which means the plaintiff here needs to overcome qualified immunity. If successful, he will be able to recover damages. This is looking like it’ll be an easy case here:
60. During discussions with PPD Internal Affairs Sergeant Maria Cianfrani (Badge #8704), which occurred after Mr. Fiorino filed a written complaint with Internal Affairs relating to the Second Incident, Sergeant Cianfrani specifically stated to Mr. Fiorino that what happened to him with regard to the First and Second Incidents was “outright illegal.”
61. Sergeant Cianfrani also admitted to Mr. Fiorino that the Policy was illegal, and admitted that the officers involved in the First and Second Incidents were following the Policy when they detained Mr. Fiorino and when they confiscated his firearm, magazines and ammunition.
Furthermore, in a May 18, 2011 radio interview with Michael Smerconish, which aired live on 1210 AM WPHT Philadelphia, Commissioner Ramsey admitted that at the time of the three aforementioned incidents, PPD officers were not aware that open carry was legal with a valid LTCF and that training on the issue was necessary and would be given to all officers.
The lawsuit asks the court to enjoin the city from confiscating firearms unless a crime is committed, and unless it’s necessary for an investigation. It would be a huge victory for everyone if such an injunction is forthcoming from the court. It also asks for damages and attorneys fees from each of the defendants. The complaint is rooted in the 4th Amendment rather than the 2nd. That’s a good thing here. His 4th Amendment rights are what was violated.