Legal trouble for two former Boynton Beach police officers continues to spiral as they are now facing a lawsuit which alleges that they acted with malice and held a man against his will after his arrest almost three years ago.
Clifford Henfield, 39, filed a lawsuit on Feb. 6 against former officers Michael Mulcahy, 30, and Michael Arco, 27, and the city of Boynton Beach. The case, which is pending, stemmed from Henfield’s November 2010 arrest.
This is the second lawsuit that Arco faces; another man Arco arrested in 2010 filed a lawsuit in October against him and three other officers along with the city of Boynton Beach.
Both lawsuits seek damages in excess of $15,000, records show. Boynton Beach police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater and the city’s manager Lori LaVerriere declined to comment on the litigation.
Arco and Mulcahy were arrested in August 2011 on charges of official misconduct and giving a false official statement after they were found to have lied in reports about how they got into the motel room of armed robbery suspect Gary Roker on Nov. 30, 2010. Their supervisors noticed they failed to answer crucial questions in reports and the motel owner’s wife told police her husband let the officers in the room while the officers told their supervisors that Roker opened the door.
Mulcahy, who was fired from the department in January, agreed this month to surrender his law-enforcement career as part of a deal that the charges will be dropped against him in 12 months as long as he stays out of trouble.
Arco resigned from the department after his arrest. The two were part of a band of five officers who landed on the other side of the law in 2011.
The lawsuit against Arco and Mulcahy stems from the November 2010 arrest of Henfield who lived in suburban Delray Beach at the time. He was arrested on charges of two counts of resisting an officer with violence, simple assault on an officer and driving with a suspended license. Charges were never filed against Henfield in that case, court records show.
Mulcahy and Arco pulled Henfield over in a traffic stop while investigating a reported kidnapping. A woman told police that her child and the kidnapper were in a black Cadillac SUV and the two officers pulled Henfield over — he was driving a black 2003 Cadillac SUV, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Henfield allegedly cursed at the officers and told them that they had no reason to stop him. The officers said that Henfield rushed toward Arco and out of fear Arco tried grabbing Henfield to “escort him to the ground,” the affidavit says. The two men fell to the ground and Henfield allegedly twisted Arco’s torso. Arco ended up in Bethesda Memorial Hospital with an injured back and another officer ended up with a fractured wrist. Henfield was also taken to Bethesda for cuts on his head.
The lawsuit says the officers unlawfully restrained Henfield “against his will, arresting him, and illegally detaining him and depriving him of his liberty,” documents show. The restraint was unlawful and unreasonable and the officers did not have a valid warrant, the lawsuit alleges.
The city of Boynton Beach is liable, Henfield claims, as he has suffered damages including bodily injuries, physical inconvenience, disgrace and humiliation.
The officers acted with malice and battered Clifford without consent, the lawsuit says.
The second lawsuit Arco and the city face was filed Oct. 10 by 43-year-old Christopher Yesnick. Yesnick claims that Arco, former officer Alex Lindsey and officers Fabrice Jeanniton and George Baldino “battered” him by using “unlawful physical force.”
Arco and Mulcahy did not return a request for comment Friday.
Staff writer Eliot Kleinberg contributed to this story.