Pennsylvania State Trooper Ryan Luckenbaugh was convicted of assault in connection with a 2015 arrest, which took jurors less than an hour to come to a verdict.
The arrest report was a complete fabrication, according to prosecutors, going on to call Luckenbaug a bully with a badge in closing arguments.
The incident occurred in state capital Harrisburg at 2 a.m. Luckenbaugh and partner, Michael Trotta, were riding towards the restaurant district to stalk the bars as they closed.
They encountered Chris Siennick as he skated down the wrong way on a one-way street. Luckenbaugh yelled at Siennick, who responded by flipping the officers off.
The dash cam of the incident caught the officers plotting to get Siennick. Luckenbaugh told Trotta to go up to the next street and loop back around. The dash cam does not catch what the officers described as a Siennick running as officers yelled for him to stop.
They caught him after after first tasering, then pepper spraying him when the taser prongs did not make proper contact.
Luckenbaug, Trotta and several Harrisburg Police officers escorted Siennick to their car and sat him on the ground in front of the vehicle. Siennick is seen frothing and spitting from the pepper spray and can be heard making remarks towards Luckenbaug.
Luckenbaug could no longer contain himself, after Siennick called him a storm trooper, and kicked him. Immediately Trotta foreseen the kick and attempted to say something to Luckenbaug but it was too late. Trotta then went into defensive mode and started saying that Siennick shouldn’t have spit.
Luckenbaug and Trotta then went all out explaining why they arrested Siennick, telling the Harrisburg officers that Siennick threw his skateboard at the vehicle. All of those lies were then later transposed into the arrest report. That report was the foundation of charges brought against Siennick, which Siennick was held for two weeks before the District Attorney’s office wrote they were not going to pursue charges.
Luckenbaugh was suspended without pay after Harrisburg Police who witnessed the incident reported to the States Attorney’s office the morning after.
Luckenbaugh’s partner, Trotta, is not without controversy either. He was fired late in 2015 after multiple sustained complaints unrelated to this incident.
Pennsylvania protects public employees by preventing any internal discipline that may have occurred. A ruling last year regarding a civil suit against Trotta re-affirmed the records are subject to public record’s requests.
A settlement was reached in August 2016 where Trotta forcibly strip-searched a man who was not under arrest. In that incident, Trotta ordered him out of his place of work and placed him in handcuffs for 90 minutes, while Trotta attempted to get a warrant. Unable to obtain a warrant Trotta then took him to the State Police Barracks a 45 minute drive east, where strip-searched him. The settlement was confidential.
Siennick was asked his thoughts on Trotta’s firing. Siennick responded that it was a great thing for him and all Pennsylvania residents.