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Convicted drug dealer seeks more than $300,000 in damages from town; his suit against Fairview Hospital dismissed

Ryan P. Babcock, then 27, was taken into custody by Great Barrington police on June 5, 2013, after his girlfriend's mother had called the department concerned about her daughter's safety in Babcock's car.

Editor’s note: After publication, The Edge was contacted by Fairview Hospital spokesperson Lauren Smith, who said Babcock’s complaint against the hospital and its three physicians was dismissed at the hospital’s urging by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani on Aug. 1, 2017. Click here to see Talwani’s ruling. The complaint against Sgt. Carlotto remains unresolved.

Great Barrington — What apparently started out as a routine response to domestic discord has resulted in a federal lawsuit against a Great Barrington police officer, Fairview Hospital and three doctors who work there.

The case took up half an hour at last night’s selectboard meeting, as board members huddled with their lawyer in executive session. When they emerged, board members took no action and did not comment on the case.

Babcock and his then-girlfriend Colleen Nowobilski.(Facebook)

Ryan P. Babcock, then 27, was taken into custody by Great Barrington police on June 5, 2013, after his girlfriend’s mother had called the department concerned about her daughter’s safety in a parked vehicle.

The mother told police that Babcock would not let her daughter go, according to Babcock’s lawsuit, which was originally filed on May 23, 2016. Contacted by the Edge, Great Barrington Police Chief Bill Walsh declined to comment or make available the police report of the incident. Fairview Hospital did not respond to a request for comment either.

Click here to view Babcock’s lawsuit and all its exhibits, some of which are redundant. Babcock signed the complaint “pro se,” which means he is representing himself. The complaint is poorly written, contains some handwritten corrections and uses unattributed slang such as “beat the crap out of him.”

Officer Adam Carlotto, who is now the second-shift sergeant, arrived with officer Ryan Storti at at 294 Park Street in Housatonic. They approached Babcock and his girlfriend, Colleen Nowobilski, both of whom were still inside the car.

During bystander CPR training at the fire station in 2016, Officer Adam Carlotto, at left, speaks to a resident about the importance of immediate treatment. (Courtesy Great Barrington Fire Department)

According to the lawsuit, after a brief exchange, Carlotto told Babcock “to get out of the car, and threatened him with pepper spray if he did not comply.” After another exchange, Carlotto sprayed Babcock and “started beating his leg with a baton.”

Babcock maintains that Carlotto beat him, which directly resulted in “unbearable pain … sustained multiple injuries, as well as a broken leg.” Babcock, who admits he showed signs of a drug overdose, claims he “did nothing to warrant beating with a baton against his body.” According to Great Barrington police, however, five officers were reportedly needed to pull Babcock out of his vehicle, subdue him and slap the cuffs on him.

After doctors said he “was noted in his cell to be becoming somnolent,” Babcock was taken from police headquarters to Fairview Hospital. It was there that he alleges he was mistreated by the three doctors who administered two drugs as “chemical restraints.” Instead, Babcock said the injections of the Haldol and Ativan gave him “lock-jaw and Rhabdomyolysis.” The physicians, he said, ignored his claims of a broken leg and refused to perform “any proper treatment of his other injuries.”

Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington where Babcock was taken for treatment.

Babcock, who will turn 34 in June, claims he continues to suffer pain as a result of his poor treatment at the hands of the police and the doctors. He seeks a total of $760,000 in punitive and compensatory damages for excessive use of police force, “deliberate indifference to serious medical needs,” and “medical negligence.”

A report prepared by one of the attending physicians said Babcock “had a history of drug use” and “was found to be in possession of possibly cocaine, marijuana, oxycodone 30mg tablets, and one unknown triangular tablet.”

The report, which Babcock included as one of his “exhibits,” also said he was “unable or unwilling to provide history due to intoxication.” At the hospital, he tested positive for cocaine and opiates.

Ryan Babcock. (Facebook)

In a plea deal struck in 2015, Babcock, then of New Marlborough, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and oxycodone with intent to distribute and was sentenced to three to four years in the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction.

Babcock had at least one other serious brush with the law. He was one of 19 suspects arrested in 2004 in a now-famous police sting in Great Barrington. Babcock, then 20, subsequently pleaded guilty to three counts of distribution of cocaine, two counts of selling drugs in a drug-free school zone, one count of conspiracy to distribute drugs and one count of possession of marijuana. He was sentenced to serve four to six years in prison.

The drug sweep became an issue in the 2006 race for Berkshire district attorney when Great Barrington lawyer Judy Knight, who had represented another young defendant in the sting, Kyle Sawin, unsuccessfully challenged incumbent DA David Capeless, who had made getting tough on drugs something of a professional crusade.

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