This article was originally publishes on goerie.com on June 19, 2017 by Staff Report.
Jury selection is underway for the trial of an Erie police patrolman accused of kicking a handcuffed and prone suspect in the face in October.
Justin W. Griffith, 36, faces a second-degree misdemeanor count of simple assault after other officers who were at the scene reported they saw Griffith kick the man, Patrick Gehrlein, after he had been handcuffed on Oct. 10.
Erie County Judge John Garhart is presiding over Griffith’s trial.
Griffith, who is free on $5,000 unsecured bail, is represented by Erie lawyer John Carlson. Griffith was moved to unpaid administrative leave after the simple assault charge was held for trial after his December preliminary hearing.
Assistant District Attorney Mark Richmond is prosecuting the case.
Police said officers encountered Gehrlein at an apartment in the 2000 block of Wallace Street. Gehrlein stated he had AIDS and began spitting at the officers while he was facedown and handcuffed, according to the criminal complaint.
Police charged that Griffith kicked Gehrlein in the face after two officers had each already placed a foot on Gehrlein. Gehrlein suffered multiple facial fractures, according to the complaint.