A man serving 15 years in prison for robbery is suing the same Delaware pizza place that he tried to rob. Nigel Sykes, 23, has filed a lawsuit against Seasons Pizza of Wilmington, Delaware, as well as the police officers who arrested him four years ago, claiming he was assaulted and injured during the robbery.
And you thought you'd heard it all when it came to injury claims resulting from the workplace.
According to police reports, on November 30, 2010, Sykes entered the restaurant armed with a gun and demanded money. Although he was given $140, things went quickly wrong for him. He was confronted and detained by several employees. During the struggle, his gun discharged – though no one was struck. He was eventually arrested by police officers who responded to the call.
According to Delaware Online, Sykes was linked to at least eight other robberies at the time of his arrest.
In his initial complaint (this is his third attempt, with the first two being summarily dismissed), Sykes claimed he was forced by an unidentified person to rob Seasons Pizza (the devil made him do it). He claims “he was knocked unconscious at least twice by employees at the restaurant and then shot several times with tasers by responding police officers.” In his initial complaint, Sykes accused both the Delaware State Police and Seasons Pizza of violating his civil rights, and was seeking $100,000 in compensatory damages from each.
He included the police because he claimed, in addition to the aforementioned liberal tasering, that he was punched in the stomach and head as well as slammed against the trunk after being escorted to a police vehicle.
Does not sound like his most successful day at work. He should have called in sick. I am not sure how he came to a $200,000 compensatory figure. I suppose that would represent lost earnings as a result of his injuries – and being thrown in jail. But the latter point is a minor inconvenience at best.
As noted, this suit is Sykes third attempt. This time, instead of suing the restaurant and State Police, he is suing the restaurant and the Newport Police Department and three of its officers.
Sykes says in his complaint that “The defendant handed me $140” after he brandished a gun and demanded money. He then says he was grabbed by one of the employees as he tried to leave the store. “After a short struggle, the defendants successfully obtained the handgun from me,” he wrote. “That is when the assault began.”
In the complaint, he alleges that the employees punched and kicked him and “poured hot soup over his body”, writing “I was unarmed and defenseless and had to suffer a brutal beating by all the employees of Seasons Pizza.” Sykes claimed he was eventually knocked unconscious and was then assaulted by three responding Newport Police officers.
Cry me a river.
But this gentleman’s wild ride was just beginning. According to the complaint, “They handcuffed me behind my back. I was aroused from my state of unconsciousness only to realize that I was handcuffed and being tasered. I was tasered a total of three consecutive times while handcuffed.”
Of course, no lawsuit is complete without allegations of racism. This one is no exception, with Sykes claiming one of the officers called him a racial slur. He also says he was denied medical treatment despite paramedics being at the scene.
In his lawsuit, Sykes claims he “continues to suffer the effects of the beating, including bruises, headaches, contusions and burns.” I am not sure how he can still have bruises and contusions four years after the incident. It’s not like he is in California, waiting 4 years for his IMR.
He was initially suing the Newport Police Department for $100,000, three Newport Police Officers for a total of $60,000, Seasons Pizza for $100,000 and six employees of Seasons Pizza for a total of $120,000; but a judge dismissed the claims made against the Newport Police Department as well as one of the officers.
The court did, however allow the case to proceed on the assault claims against Seasons Pizza and its employees as well as the excessive force claims against the two other Newport officers.
That is beautiful. This way all of these people who were robbed can be victimized again and again and again. Now, if his allegations are true, I don’t condone the pouring of hot soup over someones body. That is a terrible waste of good soup; especially when boiling water would be more effective for the purpose.
To other potential robbers in training, who may have failed to read the Robbery Field Manual; sticking a gun in people’s faces has a tendency to piss them off. There may be consequences for a brutish and illegal act. We are a society that operates by the rule of law, but frankly you change the rules a bit when you stick a loaded gun in someones face. The fact that our society mollycoddles prisoners and allows this crap to proceed should not be interpreted as a justification for what you do.
But, no one says it better than Andy Papanicolas, the Director of Operations at Seasons. He simply says, “It’s a mockery. It’s a joke for it to even make it to the courts. It’s pretty pathetic.”
I have nothing that can improve on that statement.