A jury declined yesterday to award any damages in a brutality suit brought by a Fairfax County home-owner against two county police officers as the result of a melee over an alleged noise ordinance violation.
A countersuit by the officers seeking damages for assault and battery also was denied by the six-member jury in federal court in Alexandria.
The homeowner, Derwin Scalph of 4220 Franconia Rd., testified he was severely beaten in a wild struggle at him home on May 22, 1980, by an officer called to investigate a neighbor's complaint that Scalph was mowing his lawn after 11 p.m.
Scalph, who conceded that he had been mowing his lawn at the time, told the jury he was knocked down and hit in the face repeatedly by Officer James Wade until there was blood on the carpet and Scalph's nose was broken.
Scalph, a construction contractor, contended a second officer, Richard Shafer, also took part in the beating. Shaffer denied he was present at the time.
Wade, 24, a three-year Fairfax police veteran, testified later that Scalph's initial greeting was "Get the f--- off my property" and that Scalph had violently resisted arrest. Scalph at one point called to his father to "get this s.o.b. officer off my back or I'll kill him," Wade said.
Both men testified they feared for their lives during a struggle over Wade's revolver as they rolled on the floor before Scalph was subdued.
Scalph was taken to Mount Vernon Hospital by a rescue squad and treated for his nose fracture and rib and hand injuries. He testified he had $3,000 in medical bills.
Allegations of police brutality have been highly controversial in Fairfax County recently, with the police force steadfastly defending itself against charges that it has one of the highest incidences of citizen complaints in the Washington area.
Scalph's suit, brought under a federal civil rights statute, accused Wade and Shaffer of making an unlawful arrest, carrying out an illegal search of his home and using excessive force.
In his closing statement to the jury, Scalph's lawyer, James Tate, argued that the episode was a violation of Scalph's constitutional rights. Scalph was beaten "for no reason," Tate said, calling the actions by police "way out of hand."
But defense attorney Peter Andreoli contended it was clear that Wade was justified in making the arrest and argued it was improper to "duke it out with a police officer. This is not the frontier," he said.
Andreoli said Wade had both the right and the duty to make the arrest and he "did it property . . ."
Scalph was charged with malicious wounding, cursing and abusing a police officer and violation of the noise ordinance, but the charges were dropped.