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Concertgoers sue after being taken into protective custody

Men sue Foxborough, police chief following actions at Springsteen concert

Two concertgoers who claim they were unlawfully taken into protective custody by Foxborough police at Gillette Stadium last month have filed a federal class action lawsuit against the police chief and the town, according to a statement from the men’s lawyers.

Plaintiffs Paul Weldner and Timothy Dutton drank alcohol before the Bruce Springsteen concert on Aug. 18, the lawyers said.

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Before they could enter the concert, Weldner and Dutton were taken into protective custody with more than 60 other people by police, lawyers said.

“They drank alcohol before the concert, but they were not incapacitated,” their lawyers said. “They had rented a bus so they could travel safely.”

The civil suit, filed in US District Court in Boston on Sept. 24, alleges that Foxborough police violated the men’s constitutional right to freedom from unreasonable seizures and states that since 1971, a person cannot be arrested in Massachusetts for being intoxicated.

Officials “established a policy of taking people into protective custody even though the people detained were not incapacitated by alcohol consumption,” the lawyers said.

A person can only be taken into protective custody if they are incapacitated, which Weldner and Dutton allege they were not, the lawyers said.

Attorneys Howard Friedman and David Milton of the Law Offices of Howard Friedman P.C. are representing the plaintiffs and seek monetary damages for violations of the class members’ constitutional rights and an end to the policy.

Foxborough Police Chief Edward O’Leary said the town has not yet been officially served with a lawsuit.

“I’m not going to be making any comment at this time,” O’Leary said.

Melissa Werthmann can be reached at melissa.werthmann@globe.com.
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