State Trooper Charged with Pepper-spraying & Assaulting Handcuffed Suspect in Franklin County

HARRISBURG – Agents from the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation have filed criminal charges against a Corporal with the Pennsylvania State Police who is accused of pepper-spraying and physically assaulting a Franklin County man who was handcuffed and seatbelted in the back of a police car.

Attorney General Linda Kelly identified the defendant as Christian D. Fow, age 43, of Shippensburg.

According to the criminal charges, the victim of the assault was Christian Broadwater, a Shippensburg area man who had been taken into custody by other Pennsylvania State Troopers following a September 29, 2010 incident at Broadwater’s home.

Kelly said that Broadwater had been subdued by other troopers and had been placed in the rear seat of a state police patrol car with his hands cuffed behind his back and was further restrained by a seatbelt that had been fastened around him. The in-car Mobile Video Recorder (MVR) was activated when Broadwater was placed in the patrol car, with the camera turned rearward in order to record the activities in the back seat.

According to the complaint, Broadwater shows no sign of any injuries at the beginning of the video, but is heard complaining several times that the handcuffs are causing discomfort. On a number of occasions during the 29 minute long video, other state troopers are seen and heard checking the security and comfort of the handcuffs.

Kelly said that Fow, who served as a Patrol Supervisor, arrived at the incident scene after Broadwater had been restrained and placed in the police car. Fow can be seen in the video standing behind the patrol car consulting with emergency medical personnel and other police officers.

According to the complaint, one of the medical responders is heard commenting about Broadwater’s movements in the car and Fow is then seen opening the rear door and pepper-spraying Broadwater in the face.

At that point Broadwater moves so that his face was just out of the view of the camera, followed by an exchange of words between Broadwater and Fow and the sound of what appears to be someone being struck. Broadwater can then be see on-camera again with what appears to be blood on his face.

Broadwater was later transported to Chambersburg Hospital for treatment of facial injuries.

Fow is charged with one count of simple assault, a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

The criminal charges were filed before Pleasant Hall Magisterial District Judge David L. Plum, who will schedule a preliminary hearing at a later date.

The case will be prosecuted in Franklin County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony W. Forray of the Attorney General?s Criminal Protections Section.

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