File photo: Denise Civiletti

Four men arrested following a March 2018 brawl at a Wading River catering hall have filed a multimillion federal lawsuit against the Town of Riverhead and two town police officers, alleging false arrest, false imprisonment, use of excessive force and unreasonable search and seizure.

The plaintiffs, members of the Hagerman Fire Department, were attending a fire department installation dinner at East Wind on March 3, 2018, where a fight broke out between people attending the installation dinner and members of a wedding party attending a wedding reception at the catering hall.

Thomas Dunham, Andrew Dunham, Brendan Dunham and Corey Citarella, all of East Patchogue, were arrested by Riverhead Police after police responded to a call about large fight involving 40 to 50 people at the catering hall in the early morning of March 4, 2018.

Thomas Dunham was later convicted after a jury trial on one count of obstructing governmental administration in the second degree and acquitted on a charge of resisting arrest. He has appealed the conviction.

Andrew Dunham, Brendan Dunham and Corey Citarella were each acquitted on assault charges in a separate jury trial.

The plaintiffs say Riverhead Town Police arrested them without probable cause, acting on the accusations of the bride and groom, whom they say did not witness them allegedly assaulting the groom, who was taken by ambulance to Peconic Bay Medical Center for treatment of injuries.

Thomas Dunham alleges in the complaint that Riverhead Police Officer Giuseppe Rossini handcuffed him and pushed him to the ground, causing him to strike his head, resulting in a concussion, cuts and scrapes. Andrew Durham alleges in the complaint that while handcuffed, he was pepper-sprayed and struck by police. Thomas and Andrew Dunham, while in custody, were taken by police to PBMC for treatment of their injuries, according to the complaint.

All four men were held overnight for arraignment and were thereafter released pending trial.

The complaint names, in addition to the town and officer Rosini, Riverhead Police Sgt. Brian Gleason, as well as the bride and groom, Robert and Christina Kraham, whom they say made statements and complaints about them to the police.

Riverhead Police in a March 4 press release following the incident said a fight erupted in the main foyer of the catering hall between the wedding party and guests at the fire department installation dinner, in which “numerous subjects, mainly intoxicated started pushing, cursing, and hitting one another.”

Riverhead Police said Suffolk County Police, State Police, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department and NYS Park Police also responded to East Wind to help control the scene.

The lawsuit, first reported by the News-Review, seeks a judgment against the town of $1 million in compensatory damages on each of five causes of action, $1 million in punitive damages on each of four causes of action, and attorneys’ fees. It also seeks $100,000 in compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages from the Krahams.

The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on June 3.

Dunham et al v. Town of Riverhead by RiverheadLOCAL on Scribd

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.