WILKES-BARRE — A police officer who says he is unable to return to work due to a disabling injury he suffered while arresting a suspect last October has filed a lawsuit against Wyoming Borough seeking his salary and medical expenses.
Kenneth W. Karns Jr. filed the suit through his attorney Matthew D. Dempsey in Luzerne County Court.
Karns alleges the borough has failed to pay his $400 weekly salary through Heart & Lung Benefits. Karns contends he is entitled to his full salary while he recovers and the borough is responsible for his medical expenses.
“The suit is under review,” Wyoming Solicitor Jarrett Ferentino said. “He is seeking a benefit under heart and lung, which is related to his workman compensation claim. Both are under review by our insurance carrier.”
Karns investigated a vandalism complaint outside the VFW Post 396 on Wyoming Avenue on Oct. 18, when Edward D. Christilaw, 55, of Exeter, allegedly smashed a car window. Christilaw allegedly stood behind a vehicle yelling, “I want that mother (expletive) in there to get out here. I’m (expletive) crazy and will (expletive) him up.”
Karns saw a large knife on the ground next to Christilaw’s feet, according to the criminal complaint, in which alleges the incident unfolded this way:
Christilaw fled, telling Karns, “I ain’t going to jail.” Christilaw allegedly fought with Karns, who suffered injuries to his shoulder, torso and arms. Karns warned Christilaw to stop fighting or he would be Tasered, to which Christilaw replied “(Expletive) you. go ahead.”
Karns stunned Christilaw with a Taser and handcuffed him. Christilaw struggled with paramedics, who could not safely remove the Taser probes from his body.
Christilaw is facing charges in county court of simple assault, criminal mischief, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness. An aggravated assault charge was withdrawn against Christilaw at a preliminary hearing.
Karns was treated for his injuries at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.
The lawsuit says Karns has been deemed totally disabled to return to work as a police officer and has incurred medical expenses and loss of wages. He is seeking his full salary since he has not been medically cleared to return to work.