A new and amended $14 million lawsuit has been filed by
six Thurmont police officers who contend their civil rights were violated by
hidden video camera installed in the police station.
The suit also accuses Thurmont Mayor Martin Burns of
telling several people that "maintaining this lawsuit will prevent them from
obtaining promotions and otherwise furthering their career." The suit does not
name either the town's mayor nor any of the town commissioners by name.
The suit was brought by Shawn R. Tyler, Jeffrey T. Gerring, Christopher A.
McLoughlin, James N. Davis, Michael A. Figgins Jr. and Richard T. White. It was
first filed Feb. 9.
Defendants are the former police chief Neil Bechtol of Fairfield, Pa., police
chief Terry Frushour and Sgt. Troy Angell, both of Thurmont.
In a court hearing last week, Judge G. Edward Dwyer Jr., granted a defense
motion to dismiss Frederick County as a defendant. Judge Dwyer and plaintiff's
attorney Michael J. Belsky of the Baltimore law firm of Schlachman, Belsky &
Weiner, agreed Frederick County should not be a defendant since the county is
not an agent for the Thurmont commissioners, the town or the police department.
In the same hearing, the Maryland State Prosecutor's office was directed to
prepare copies of the video films taken by hidden camera. The copies would be
made available to both sides. The state prosecutor's office is investigating
whether criminal charges could be brought.
The new 22-page lawsuit seeks $5,996,000 in compensatory and $7,200,000 in
punitive damages. The nine-count suit contends the spy camera was installed,
undiscovered, for about 11 months. It was designed to intercept conversations
as was another device used to record radio transmissions. Chief Frushour was
acting chief at the time of the events in the suit.
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