ON CHRISTMAS DAY two years ago, Muibat Williamson, a neurology nurse at Einstein Medical Center, received a concussion and a set of handcuffs for the holiday when a SEPTA cop allegedly rammed her head into an ATM machine and detained her for trying to file a complaint against him over an encounter the two had at Dunkin' Donuts in Suburban Station, according to court documents.
This year, Williamson is giving that former SEPTA police officer, Douglas Ioven, a Christmas present of his own in return - a civil lawsuit.
"What did I do to this man for him to treat me like this?" Williamson said in an interview. "Every time since then when I see the police, I still remember that day and I back away from them."
Williamson, 54, a native of Nigeria who moved to the U.S. in 1982, said when she ended her 12-hour shift at Einstein around 8 a.m. on Dec. 25, 2013, she headed to the Dunkin' Donuts at Suburban Station to get a coffee for her train ride home to Prospect Park, Delaware County.
According to the lawsuit, which was filed Dec. 11 in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Ioven cut in front of Williamson in the Dunkin' Donuts line and then stepped on her foot. Williamson said when she asked the officer for an apology, he refused.
"He said 'I will not apologize' and I said 'But, you're a policeman!' " Williamson recalled. "A gentle lady in line said to us 'This is Christmas, let's have a nice day,' and I said 'OK.' "
However, when Ioven left, Williamson said that same "gentle lady" urged her to file a complaint.
"The woman said 'You don't know what he's doing to other people. He looks like a bully,' " Williamson said.
When she went to file the complaint at SEPTA police's Suburban Station office, Ioven saw her knocking and ran over, she said. When he asked what she was doing, Williamson told him.
"I said 'I'm going to report you' and he said 'Get the f--- out of this place or I will cuff you,'" Williamson said. "I didn't listen. Then, he put the coffee and donuts down, and I ran and he ran after me."
Williamson said she tried to run back to where there were other people to witness the alleged attack, but she was first cornered near an ATM, into which Ioven allegedly rammed her head.
"He put my head in like POW!" Williamson said. "I said 'OK, I need to save my life. My life is in danger.' "
Williamson said three other SEPTA cops arrived on scene. A supervisor took her to file a report against Ioven, she said.
According to her suit, Williamson suffered a concussion, headaches, a hand injury, a cervical sprain and emotional trauma as a result of the incident. She is seeking more than $50,000 from Ioven and SEPTA, which is also named as a defendant in the suit.
Andrew Busch, SEPTA spokesman, said he could not comment on pending litigation. He did, however confirm that SEPTA dismissed Ioven in March 2014, following an internal investigation.
In June 2014, Ioven was criminally charged by the District Attorney's Office with official oppression, false imprisonment, simple assault and related offenses. His trial is slated for March.
Ioven's attorney, Joseph Silvestro Jr., said he had not seen the civil suit and could not comment on it.
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