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Court dismisses claims against Fall River Police Department



Claims have been dismissed by a judge that were brought against the Fall River Police Department by a Fall River man that was convicted of manslaughter concerning his mother’s death.

In December of 2017, Antonio Branco was convicted of manslaughter for neglecting his 78-year-old mother Maria Branco so badly that, by the time she was brought to a hospital, she weighed 80 pounds due to dehydration and malnourishment. She also was full of bed sores. Branco was also convicted of abusing his sister who is mentally disabled.

In his complaint, Branco claimed that he was assaulted by the police, was the victim of fraud by the police, went under emotional distress, and that the police caused the destruction of his vehicle and the property contained in it on the day of his arrest.

Attorney Andy Gambaccini, who represented the FRPD in the complaint, filed a motion to dismiss.

Branco asserted that the towing and junking of his vehicle, which was junked by the towing company, was the fault of members of the Fall River Police Department. United States District Judge Denise Casper ruled that there was not any evidence that any of the officers in the suit had any involvement in the junking of Branco’s vehicle where most of the officers in the suit were not present at the time of the arrest.

Judge Casper also stated that “Branco has not identified any unconstitutional violation that may be attributed to an official policy. Branco fails to provide facts that would demonstrate that officers engaged in a concerted action with the aim of violating [Branco’s] civil rights, and fails to allege what civil rights were violated, if any. Branco does not assert that the City had requisite knowledge of an obvious risk to its citizens’ constitutional rights, nor does he allege facts evidencing that the City disregarded this risk, thereby causing Branco’s alleged injury.”

In response to the remaining charges, Branco’s allegations, which he stated took place on his arrest on April 9, 2016, passed the statute of limitations as he had until April 9, 2019 to file any such claims as a result of the alleged assault, fraud or emotional distress. The complaint was filed in December of 2019.

As a result of the above findings, Judge Casper dismissed the claims on March 9th.
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