An article in Wednesday's Metro section incorrectly reported that Montgomery County police officer Stephen Filyo Jr. told a police trial board that he grabbed a prisoner by the shirt and shook him inorder to handcuff him. Filyo actually testified that the prisoner was already handcuffed to a table but that Filyo grabbed and shook him because the prisoner was still not under control, according to Charles R. Spigelman, the police department's legal adviser. (Published 7/25/ 87)
Montgomery County police Officer Stephen Filyo Jr., accused of using excessive force after arresting a motorist in September, was found not guilty by a police internal affairs trial board yesterday, according to the police department's legal adviser.
Filyo, 26, was accused of using too much force when trying to handcuff David W. Risik, at the time an Internal Revenue Service employe, whom Filyo had arrested after a late-night roadside confrontation.
Risik, 35, pulled a gun on Filyo, a plainclothes officer, according to court testimony. Risik was convicted of assault.
In testimony to the police board at a closed hearing, Filyo admitted grabbing Risik by the shirt and shaking him, but the officer said he had to do so in order to handcuff the prisoner, said Charles R. Spigelman, an assistant county attorney and the police department's legal adviser.
In addition to the internal police charges, Filyo had been charged with criminal battery, but county prosecutors dropped the charge in May, citing insufficient evidence.
Circuit Judge Stanley Frosh last month criticized that decision, saying that testimony during Risik's trial indicated that officer Filyo had hit Risik's head repeatedly against a windowsill at the police station. The judge suspended the guilty verdict against Risik and said Filyo should be prosecuted on the criminal charge. But State's Attorney Andrew L. Sonner said the case against Filyo was weak.
After yesterday's hearing, which could have led to disciplinary action against Filyo, Spigelman said: "Based on the evidence and given the circumstances, Officer Filyo did not use excessive force."
Officer Raymond Simmons told the board that he saw Filyo shaking Risik but that he could not judge how hard Risik's head may have hit a windowsill or if only Risik's hair touched a windowsill, Spigelman said.
At Risik's trial, Filyo admitted that "I grabbed him by the collar, and his head may have made contact with the windowsill." Simmons testified in March that he saw Risik's head hit the windowsill. But it was found yesterday that the amount of force with which it may have hit could not be judged by Simmons, according to Spigelman.