Man threatens lawsuit in connection with robbery probe
Published 7:11 am, Tuesday, December 11, 2012
A Bridgeport man questioned by Fairfield police investigating two robberies earlier this year plans to sue the town and the Police Department, according to documents.
James Dunne, 31, filed a notice with the town that he intends to seek monetary damages "for the cost of reasonably necessary medical expenses, and infliction of emotional distress" and claims "loss of his civil rights as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution" because of the investigation.
Police began looking for a robber after Adam's Bakery, 1525 Black Rock Turnpike, was robbed at gunpoint last April 29. A few days later, on May 4, the Sahara Tanning Salon, 173 Post Road, also was held up by an armed robber.
Police later charged Christopher French, 36, of Shelton, in connection with both incidents.
Dunne, however, was stopped and questioned after the tanning salon robbery. According to a report on the incident filed by Sgt. Feliz Esposito, he was responding to the robbery call when he passed the Shell gas station, 1139 Post Road, about a half-mile away. A description of the robbery suspect had been broadcast, along with the information that he was likely driving a two- or four-door tan or gray Infiniti.
As he passed the gas station, Esposito said he said a four-door gray Infiniti being driven by a thin, white male with short hair and blue eyes, pulled out of the lot "at a high rate of speed. "As he did, our eyes met and he immediately looked away as if to avoid further eye contact," Esposito's report states.
The officer stopped Dunne near Riverside Drive, asked him to step out of the car and had a brief conversation. "After he explained where he was coming from and where he was going, he was released," Esposito wrote in his report.
The report states neither Dunne nor his car was searched and also that Dunne was never physically detained. In his notice of intent to sue, however, Dunne states police "were willful, malicious, wanton, reckless, careless and/or negligent with the continued identification, stop, pat down, search, detain and pursuit of James G. Dunne as a potential suspect in an armed robbery that occurred on May 4, 2012, in Fairfield, Connecticut."
Esposito said he later learned Dunne was a suspect in a minor shoplifting incident at the Shell station about 20 minutes prior to the tanning salon robbery. In that incident, Dunne allegedly took a pack of gum and did not pay for it, but he said he asked the clerk for both gum and cigarettes. The owner said Dunne asked only for cigarettes and claimed "he has done this before." The owner told police he did not want to press charges.
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