Court reinstates exotic dancer’s lawsuit against police

Posted Jan. 08, 2009, at 2:59 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 10:43 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — A federal appeals court has reinstated an exotic dancer’s lawsuit claiming that a South Portland police officer used excessive force after she arrived at a hotel to do her act.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated a federal judge’s finding that Sgt. Steven Webster was insulated from liability in the lawsuit filed in 2007 by Rosanna Morelli.

Morelli claimed that Webster shoved her against a hallway wall and grabbed her arm and wrist when she tried to leave the hotel. She had been contacted in her capacity as an exotic dancer by undercover officers who had set up a prostitution sting operation. No charges were filed.

Attorney Zachary Heiden of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, which represents Morelli, applauded the ruling and said he is pleased to have the opportunity to take the case to trial.

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