The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 13, 2013

Clinton man sues officers

CLINTON — A civil lawsuit against two Clinton police officers has been filed in Clinton County District Court.

Terry Best, 53, of Clinton, filed a suit this month against officers Dan Sager and Luke Bray, for one count of deprivation of rights and one count of assault and battery.

The allegations against Sager and Bray include unlawful and unreasonable entrance into Best’s home, and the use of excessive force during an arrest.

According to court documents, officers were dispatched on Sept. 7, 2012, to 19th Avenue North and North Second Street in Clinton for a reported hit and run that took place in Fulton, Ill.

The victim of the hit and run placed the call to Clinton police and then followed a black pickup truck, later determined to be registered to Best, to his residence at 3031 Cleveland St.

Officers Sager and Bray arrived to the residence shortly after and could smell the odor of alcohol when they approached him, according to court documents. Sager then asked him to step outside to conduct a field sobriety test.

After refusing the tests and attempting to go back into his home, Best was grabbed by Sager and a struggle between the two ensued. Bray then Tasered Best to subdue him and then proceeded with the arrest.

According to documents filed in Best’s defense case for a motion to suppress the charges, “officers, without probable cause, performed a warrantless, de facto arrest of the defendant by tackling and deploying aTaser into the abdomen of the defendant.”

Best was charged in the original arrest, but won that ruling, after the court ruled at the time of the arrest, “there was no warrant nor probable cause to secure a warrant,” and granted a motion to suppress all evidence and statements of the proceedings.

In the petition filed recently, Best cited “past and future pain, suffering of mental anguish, medical expenses and lost income” as a result of the unlawful seizure and is requesting a judgment against the defendants in a fair and monetary amount to be determined by the “trier of fact.”

Clinton police chief Brian Guy said he has not been made aware of the lawsuit against his officers and chose not to comment.

A preliminary court hearing has not been set by the district court, but Best has requested a trial by jury in the case against the Clinton police officers.

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