Chambersburg trooper charged with assaulting prisoner

October 12, 2011
  • Christian D. Fow
Christian D. Fow

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office has filed a criminal charge against a state trooper stationed in Chambersburg, alleging he pepper-sprayed and assaulted a man who was handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser last year.

Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Christian D. Fow, 43, of Shippensburg, Pa., was charged with one count of simple assault, a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison, according to a news release from Attorney General Linda Kelly.

He has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the case, a state police spokesman said Wednesday.

Parts of the event were captured on the patrol car’s mobile video recorder, the release said.

The incident occurred on Sept. 29, 2010, when the alleged victim, Christian Broadwater of Shippensburg, was taken into custody by other troopers following an incident at his home, the release said.

Broadwater was subdued, handcuffed and seat-belted in the cruiser, the release said.

The camera was turned on once Broadwater was placed in the cruiser, and he showed no evidence of injuries at the beginning of the 29-minute video. He is heard complaining several times that the handcuffs are uncomfortable, and other troopers can be seen and heard checking on Broadwater from time to time, the release said.

Fow, a patrol supervisor, arrived at the scene and can be seen on the video talking with emergency medical personnel and other troopers behind the cruiser, the release said.

One of the medical personnel can be heard discussing Broadwater’s movements in the cruiser, and Fow is then seen opening the rear door and spraying Broadwater in the face with pepper spray, the release said.

Broadwater moves so that his face is out of view of the camera, and he is heard exchanging words with Fow. That is followed by “the sound of what appears to be someone being struck,” the release said.

When Broadwater’s face comes back into view of the camera, he appears to have blood on his face. He was treated for facial injuries at Chambersburg Hospital, the release said.

The assault charge was filed before Magisterial District Judge David L. Plum, and a preliminary hearing will be scheduled for a later date, the release said.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony W. Forray has been assigned to prosecute the case in Franklin County, the release said.

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