Sailor plans to sue Chesapeake claiming false arrest

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Obstruction of justice charges against a sailor were nolle prossed in a Chesapeake courtroom Friday morning.

However, the sailor says he plans to sue the city. The man alleges officers forced their way into his home and arrested him on Jan. 15.

Police body camera footage obtained by 10 On Your Side shows just some of the conversation involving an officer trying to get into Brian Savary’s home.

“They were looking for one of my friends that had nothing to do with me. My friend and his wife had gotten into a verbal altercation, and he was looking for him to clear things up,” Savary said.

The video begins showing the officer at Savary’s door. You see him answer the door and can hear Savary saying, “He doesn’t want to come out” – talking about the friend inside the house. The officer then tells Savary “We need to go in there and talk to him.” The two go back and forth with Savary asking to see the warrant the officer says he has.

Later you hear the officer admit that he didn’t have the warrant with him, but told Savary he would be arrested if he wasn’t allowed in.

At about a minute and a half into the clip, you see where part of the video has been removed. Then you see officers arresting Savary. The video ends with Savary being escorted out of his house.

Savary told 10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings, “The day of the arrest I was very scared… Because of everything that’s going on in the media today, I actually didn’t know how everything was going to play out.”

Savary continued, “When I did first get arrested, as I was sitting in the vehicle, that was probably like one of the longest rides ever because I didn’t know if I was going to get driven somewhere, breakup then dragged into the jail saying I was being resistful.”

His fear was heightened because of what he says led to the interaction.

Outside the courthouse, after the hearing, Savary spoke to Cummings, “He refused to show me a warrant at the time and said that if I refused to let him in then its obstruction of justice. I just made it clear to him, I said, ‘If you don’t have a warrant, I’m not letting you in and if you come in it’s because you forced your way in.’ That’s when he took actions and forced his way into my house.”

Savary’s attorney, S.W. Dawson said, “We’re surprised the officer has decided to prosecute Brian in this fashion for what we allege is nothing more than Brian exercising his constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures of his person or home or anything.”

Friday was the second time Savary faced a judge on these same charges. This case dates back to January when Savary was first arrested inside his house.

The charges were dropped in February when the Chesapeake police officer didn’t show up to court. However, the same officer refiled the charges.

Court documents show the misdemeanor charge of obstructing justice without force was dismissed in February.

Online court records show the officer refiled the same charges in March.

The case was continued several times until Friday when a judge granted the commonwealth’s attorney’s request to dismiss the charges.

“There are plenty of instances in this area, the state, nationally of policeman’s conduct and they have to be taken care of one by one. This cannot be swept under the rug. This is a serious thing. This is a military veteran having a police officer essentially break into his home; not somebody else’s home, not a public place, his home. This cannot stand. It cannot stand,” Dawson said.

At his home Savary explained the force used in his arrest left him injured. “My left right finger as you see it cannot bend completely. I’ve been going through physical therapy ever since.” “I don’t have 100 percent in my ring finger anymore. I can’t bend it and also I can’t put too much pressure on this finger anymore as I used to.”

Cummings asked Savary, “Why not just let him in the house?” Savary responded, “Because I didn’t believe him when he said that he has a warrant and he wanted to come in.”

Savary has an associate degree in criminal justice and is a corrections officer at a military prison. He and his attorney plan to file a lawsuit against the city of Chesapeake for what they call an illegal arrest.

“I’m glad that this is over and I’m looking for justice to be served,” Savary said.

For this report, the following questions were asked by 10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings. Chesapeake MPO Kelly O’Sullivan gave the following responses: 

Cummings: What led to Savary’s arrest on 1/15/15 on Keltic Circle?

O’Sullivan: The officer investigated a domestic assault and subsequently secured a warrant and an EPO Emergency Protective order out on an individual that was inside this residence. All occurred that same day.

The guy involved in the domestic was arrested as well. The domestic is what led them to Savory. I do not have the details of what the probable cause was for Savory’s Obstruction arrest warrant.

Cummings: Why didn’t Officer Tvaryanas show up for court in February?

O’Sullivan: The officer did not receive the subpoena until after the court date.

hy after the case was dismissed in February did the officer refile the charges?

O’Sullivan: He refiled because of the subpoena issue.

Cummings: Also can you release the full body camera footage of the incident?

O’Sullivan: The release of the body camera video is exempt from disclosure per FOIA.

Cummings: An attorney on case says video provided by the police department has some redacted portions. Can you tell me why?

O’Sullivan: I have not heard back from the person in records that redacted it yet. However, their counterpart advised… We redact for different reasons such as; laptop being visible which could be a VCIN violation if DMV or Criminal History information is visible, radio chatter detailing personal, criminal or medical information for another person, investigative techniques or procedures that could be an Officer Safety issue, privacy issues when filmed inside of persons home, medical attention being given to a person injured, and juveniles are caught on camera.

The following Virginia Code Section and Rule of Discovery cover these redactions:

Rule 7C:5(c) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia governs discovery to the Commonwealth or City in General District Court for prosecution for a misdemeanor which may be punished by confinement in jail and to a preliminary hearing for a felony.  Rule 7C:5(c) limits criminal discovery in General District Court on motion of the accused to “(1) any relevant written or recorded statements or confessions made by the accused, or copies thereof and the substance of any oral statements and confessions made by the accused to any law enforcement officer; and (2) any criminal record of the accused.” The Rule also requires a Court Order.  Nevertheless, as a matter of policy, the CPD complies with the Rule upon request of a defense attorney.
 2.2-3706 (B) – of the Code of Virginia, all portions of a record containing identifying information of a personal, medical or financial nature of another party have been redacted.

Cummings: What happens after an officer files charges? Does he/she not know when to show up to court? Why didn’t he receive the subpoena? Who is responsible for getting it to him?

O’Sullivan: Sometimes the officer sets his/her court dates.  Sometimes they receive subpoenas.  The subpoenas are issued from the courts and served by the sheriff’s office.

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