PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Two local law firms have filed a federal lawsuit against Churchill Borough and a police officer for alleged civil rights violations.
Todd J. Hollis Law says its firm and Trial Law Firm have been retained to prosecute alleged claims related to a civil rights violation.
According to a press conference held by the firms, a Georgia woman from out of town had her rights violated by officer Stephen Shaulis.
“I don’t ever want to see Stephen Shaulis working as a police officer or any other law enforcement capacity ever again. This is a situation where money is not enough,” Hollis said.
Rebecca Suits says she was on a walk through Churchill, where she was visiting her godmother, when she was stopped by an officer who asked for her name. The lawsuit claims he had received a call about a possible “squatter.”
Hollis says Shaulis asked for Suits’ name, which she gave to him. Hollis alleges Shaulis became more aggressive so Suits ended her walk and went back to her godmother’s house in Wilkinsburg.
Then, Hollis says, Shaulis followed Suits up to her godmother’s porch. The federal suit claims Suits was then greeted by her godmother, who confirmed that Suits was her goddaughter.
Hollis also says Shaulis asked for her identification, but Suits said she committed no crime and was in her own house, so she didn’t give it to him.
Suits says she was then arrested.
At the press conference, she was wearing a brace on her wrist, which she said was a result of the incident.
“I can’t go outside and walk now without the fear of what might happen,” Suits said.
The case was filed in federal court Monday morning.
Shaulis was accused of using excessive force when he was a former school resource officer and allegedly knocked out the 14-year-old’s tooth during an incident at Woodland Hills.
The federal lawsuit, filed by five Woodland Hills School District students, was settled.
“He has not come before a single judge,” Hollis said. “He still works as a police officer, and he hasn’t lost one dollar. So what would be his motivation to stop this kind of conduct if he suffers no consequences?”
Officer Shaulis’ personal attorney Phil DiLucente tells KDKA his client still a Churchill police officer.
He adds that the officer’s body camera video — when released — “will speak for itself.”
Stay with KDKA.com for the latest on this developing story.