Uniontown officials agree to pay $50,000 in beating case

November 22, 1996

By Joe Mandak

Uniontown officials have agreed to pay $50,000 to a black man who had sued the city, claiming he was wrongly beaten and falsely arrested in 1993 as part of a pattern of police misconduct condoned by the city.

But Carlos Jackson won't be receiving a check from some faceless insurance company. That's because the city didn't have liability insurance when the Dec. 18, 1993, incident occurred, according to Jackson's attorney, Kelly Scanlon.

Scanlon said Jackson on Wednesday agreed to accept only a $50,000 settlement offer from city coffers, in part because the city is picking up the tab. "Overall, it's a pretty fair settlement considering there is no insurance," Scanlon said. "It's good-sized for this (federal court) district."

Scanlon said she doesn't know how or why the city's liability insurance lapsed, but said city officials notified her of the snafu shortly after she filed the U.S. District Court lawsuit in Pittsburgh in December. Mayor James Sileo's secretary referred questions on the settlement and the city's lack of insurance to Solicitor Daniel Webster. Webster could not be reached to comment.

Scanlon filed Jackson's lawsuit Dec. 12, naming the city, the police department, Chief Ronald Machesky, Detective Kyle Sneddon and patrolmen David Sisler and Michael Metros as defendants. In it, Jackson claims he lost five teeth, needed 15 stitches above his eye, and still suffers from impaired speech as a result of being kicked in the mouth by Sisler.

The altercation occurred when Jackson and his brother, Grayling Jackson, went to the police station after they were notified that Grayling's son - Carlos Jackson's nephew - had been arrested on juvenile charges. Jackson said Sisler became irritated when his nephew claimed he didn't know his Social Security number while he was being booked. Jackson said Sisler accused the nephew of having an attitude problem and became incensed when Jackson told Sisler to look in his files for the number because the youth had been arrested before.

The lawsuit stated Sisler kicked Jackson in the mouth when he wasn't looking. It also stated that Sneddon signed a police complaint charging Jackson with aggravated assault, resisting arrest, terroristic threats and disorderly conduct.

A Fayette County jury found Jackson not guilty of the charges except for disorderly conduct, for which he was later fined, Scanlon said. The lawsuit contended that Machesky and the other officers conspired to violate Jackson's civil rights by filing the charges to cover up what really occurred.