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Father suing for arrest at diamond

June 19, 2000|By LAURA ERNDE

A Hagerstown man who was led away from his son's Little League game in handcuffs is suing the City of Hagerstown for the arrest and subsequent charges, which were later dropped.

Ricky Alan Hockensmith said the ordeal caused him "severe emotional distress" and "public humiliation and embarrassment," according to the suit filed Friday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Named in the lawsuit are Hagerstown Police Officers Steve Cromer and Wayne L. Hose, then-National Little League President Kelly Cromer and Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II. None of the defendants could be reached for comment.

Hockensmith was watching his son's game at Staley Park on Frederick Street June 18, 1999, when Hose took him into custody and charged him with trespassing.

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League officials said he defied their order to stay away from the park.

The case went to trial in Washington County District Court in December, where a judge found Hockensmith guilty and fined him $50.

But Hockensmith appealed the case, and prosecutors dropped the charge when Hockensmith was re-instated to the league by a new board.

Hockensmith claims he was banned from the ballpark because he lobbied for the election of new Little League officers, a violation of his First Amendment right to free speech.

Hockensmith also claims he was injured during the arrest because the handcuffs were too tight.

The lawsuit asks for $100,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages.

Hockensmith, of 9808 Wandering Lane in Hagerstown, accused the defendants of malicious prosecution, civil conspiracy, false imprisonment and battery.

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