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Goode files suit against New London, six officers

By Sasha Goldstein

Published May 02. 2012 4:00PM   Updated May 02. 2012 11:56PM
Tim Martin/The Day
Lance Goode of New London watches a video of his Oct. 20, 2010, arrest by New London police for possession of narcotics (Oxycodone) with intent to sell at his home on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012. He claims the drugs were planted by police and evident in the video shot by the police cruiser . Goode has filed suit against the city and six officers.

New London — Lance Goode, who alleged in January that a city police officer planted drugs on him during an October 2010 arrest, is suing the city and six police officers.

Goode also claims that he was falsely arrested earlier that same year, when he said officers beat him and broke his elbow.

Filed at City Hall April 27, the nine-count suit seeks more than $15,000 in damages, fees and costs. Goode is represented by Hartford-based law firm Santos & Seeley and by Seifert & Hogan of Old Lyme.

The suit alleges false arrest, state and federal civil rights violations and "use of excessive force" by four officers.

The complaint names former K-9 Officer Roger Newton, who the suit says planted drugs near Goode's car during the Oct. 20, 2010, arrest. Goode provided a copy of the police cruiser video showing that traffic stop and arrest to The Day on Jan. 5. Newton was placed on administrative leave the next day and, on Feb. 10, resigned from the police department.

Goode was charged with three narcotics-related felonies after that arrest and was incarcerated for 56 days, the suit says. The charges were dismissed in November 2011.

The suit also claims that Officer Todd Lynch posted a "no trespassing" letter targeting Goode at an apartment complex where his mother lived. Goode's visit to his mother's home precipitated an April 29, 2010, arrest on charges of trespassing, interfering with an officer, assault on a police officer and possession of narcotics, the suit says. Those charges were later dismissed, and, the suit says, the state prosecutor admitted that the "no trespassing" letter against Goode should never have been issued.

Police Sgt. Lawrence M. Keating and officers Wayne P. Neff, David McElroy and Kyle Gorra are also defendants in the suit. Those officers, the suit alleges, electrically shocked Goode numerous times with a stun gun and smashed him into a wall and onto the ground during that same April 29, 2010, arrest. Goode suffered a fractured elbow and was unarmed and in a private residence during the arrest, the suit says.

Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said Wednesday that "standard policy" dictates he cannot comment on pending litigation.

Contacted Wednesday, Goode said he would not comment without his lawyer present.

Earlier this year, after his story was made public, Goode's cause was taken up by the state and local NAACP chapters, which have called for a federal investigation into Goode's allegation that Newton planted drugs during an arrest.

Goode also attended an NAACP-sponsored town hall meeting in February, where he spoke of his run-ins with New London police officers and the discrimination he faced.

Lt. J. Paul Vance, state police spokesman, said Wednesday that an investigation into the city police department is ongoing.

s.goldstein@theday.com

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