Suit vs. State College police dismissed, claimed mistreatment during November 2011 riot

For the CDTMarch 31, 2014 

— Notice of voluntary dismissal has been filed in a federal lawsuit in which a Penn State student claimed he was mistreated during the riot in downtown State College in 2011 after football coach Joe Paterno was fired.

The settlement notice filed Monday in the U.S. Middle District did not contain any details.

The defendants, State College police officers Martin Hanes and Michael Pieniazek, had sought to have the case dismissed, claiming Matthew Masser, of Newtown Square, was barred from arguing he should not have been arrested.

Masser was charged with failure to disperse and disorderly conduct, but the charges were dismissed in September 2012 under a procedure by which the defendant does not enter a plea but satisfies fines and costs. The record subsequently was expunged.

Masser admitted shortly after midnight on Nov. 10, 2011, he was on College Avenue during the protest that turned into a riot after the firing of Paterno, according to reports.

He claimed he adhered to a police order to disperse when the two officers threw him against a mailbox, took his wallet out of a pocket, seized his student identification and told him he would be charged with a felony and thrown out of school.

The charges later filed by a summons were a misdemeanor and a summary offense.

The defense, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, had argued Masser was prevented from suing because the method in which the charges were resolved did not result in a successful termination. The two officers also claimed immunity.

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