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$365,000 Awarded After Excessive Force by Minnesota Troopers

Sartell, Minnesota resident Richard Town brought a § 1983 action against the City of Waite Park after he was subjected to excessive force by two state troopers in 2005, resulting in a fractured rib and collapsed lung.

Town was stopped for speeding and the trooper mistook his speech impediment as being suspicious and possibly drug induced. He radioed for drug sniffing canine assistance and troopers Brad Thelen and Jerry Gangle (defendants) responded, accusing Town of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When he reached for a medical card in his pocket to disprove their accusations, he was forcefully taken to the ground.

Town was arrested and charged with obstruction, disorderly conduct, possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawful prescription medicine, but the initial trooper refused to charge him with assault as the defendants requested. After the charges were dropped and Town was released, St. Cloud Hospital doctors diagnosed him as having a fractured rib and collapsed lung.

His subsequent federal lawsuit settled in October 2007 for $365,000. See: Town v. Thelen, U.S.D.C. (D. Minn.), Case No. 0:06-cv-03113-PAM-RLE.

Source: St. Cloud Times

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Related legal case

Town v. Thelen