Lawsuits allege abuse by Southampton Town Police Department

Lawsuits allege abuse by Southampton Town Police Department

The Southampton Town Police Department is facing millions of dollars in lawsuits for alleged abuses.

Mohammed Proctor is one of seven people who have had their convictions vacated after the Suffolk District Attorney's Office started reviewing cases handled by the Southampton Police Department's now-defunct street crimes unit. Proctor was arrested in 2010 on drug charges by Southampton Officer Erick Sickles, an officer later suspended for nine months. Internal documents obtained by Newsday show that Sickles, who had suffered a back injury, admitted to his supervisor that he was addicted to pain pills while on the job.

Proctor has tried to sue Sickles, his supervisor, Lt. James Kiernan, and the entire Southampton Town Police Department for wrongful arrest. In April, a judge dismissed Proctor's $50 million suit, saying police followed the proper procedures.

But Proctor is not the only one who claims abuses by the Southampton Town Police Department. Lisa Hopkins says six Southampton cops came to her Shirley home to collect $50 she owed on an open container violation. She says they got rough with her and left a bruise on her arm.

The owner of the Hampton Bays Diner has also filed a federal lawsuit, charging that Southampton cops, including Kiernan, all but tried to run him out of town after he started hosting a "Hispanic night."

The Southampton Town Police Department did launch an internal affairs investigation that included how Kiernan responded to Sickles' apparent prescription pill addiction. Kiernan was hit with 32 departmental charges and suspended from the force for six months.

But both Kiernan and Sickles are back on the force as the Town of Southampton faces more lawsuits from people claiming alleged wrongdoing by the department.

News 12 Long Island reached out to attorneys for the Southampton Town Police Department, Kiernan and Sickles. They declined to comment.