No. Smithfield PD settles suit over police note calling man ‘dangerous’ and ‘unstable’

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NORTH SMITHFIELD – The man at the center of two suits against the North Smithfield Police Department will have his file purged of notes calling him psychologically unstable and dangerous as part of a settlement this week.

It is the second suit in which the American Civil Liberties Union represents North Smithfield resident Jason Richer against the department related to an incident in 2008. The U.S. District Court awarded Richer $20,000 in damages in July over seizure of lawfully owned guns he kept in a locked case.

According to a release from the ACLU, the suit stated that police might overreact in situations involving Richer as a result of the notes in his file.

Both suits related back to a 2008 incident in which Richer’s now ex-wife called police saying he had tried to overdose on pills. Police reportedly took Richer’s guns from his home that day, and he was unable to get them back for more than six years.

The release states that during the case related to the seizure, police admitted there was “no factual basis for the note,” in Richer’s file.

The note, the lawsuit claimed, “increases the possibility that a police officer, believing Mr. Richer to be psychologically unstable, dangerous, and heavily armed, may overreact to some action or statement by Mr. Richer and shoot him and other members of his household.”

The settlement dictates that the department must remove the note, and pay $3,000 in attorney fees.

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