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Ward v. Olson

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

April 8, 2013

Isaac Ward, Plaintiff,
v.
Kevin Olson, Heather Robinson, Thomas Williams, Kerri Nolden, all in their individual and official capacities as police offers of the City of Bloomington, Minnesota, and the City of Bloomington, Defendants

Page 957

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 958

William Z. Pentelovitch, Esq. and Maslon, Edelman, Borman and Brand, Minneapolis, MN, counsel for plaintiff.

Jason M. Hiveley, Esq. and Iverson Reuvers, LLC, Bloomington, MN, counsel for defendants.

OPINION

Page 959

David S. Doty, United States District Judge.

ORDER

This matter is before the court upon the motion for summary judgment by defendants.[1] Based on a review of the file, record and proceedings herein, and for the following reasons, the court grants the motion in part.

BACKGROUND

This excessive-force case arises out of the arrest of plaintiff Isaac Ward on December 3, 2009. Although he maintains a separate residence from his wife, Randee Ward, Isaac Ward frequently exercises her dog, Baby, at Dred Scott Park (Park) near her Bloomington, Minnesota condominium. Compl. ¶ ¶ 9-10. On November 4, 2009, Ward was exercising Baby off-leash at the Park, when Bloomington Animal Warden Jay Young approached and told him the " dog belongs on a leash at all times." I. Ward Dep. 19:23. Young issued a written warning to Randee Ward, as Baby's owner, for having the dog off leash. Young Dep. 12:1-2.

On December 3, 2009, Isaac Ward was again exercising Baby without a leash at the Park, while Randee Ward waited in the car. R. Ward Dep. 10:12-19. As Isaac Ward finished running Baby, Young arrived and pulled his vehicle behind the Wards' car. I. Ward. Dep. 32:3-9. Young approached and told Isaac Ward to " shut the car off and [to] give me your driver's license." Id. Ward responded with profanity, told Young to mail him a ticket and drove out of the parking lot. Id. The Wards drove to Randee Ward's condominium, and Young followed. Id. at 32:11-19. Upon arrival, Isaac Ward approached Young's vehicle, swore at him and threatened to " [s]natch him out of the car if he [kept] following." Id. at 32:16-33:8; 38:24-25. In response, Randee Ward told Isaac Ward to go into the condominium. R. Ward. Dep. 18:11-15. Young states that Isaac Ward threatened to " go into the house ... get a gun" and kill him and his " friends in blue." Young Dep. 44:3-7. Isaac Ward responds that he neither made contact with, nor threatened to kill, Young. I. Ward Dep. 38:19-25, 92:6-13.

Thereafter, Randee Ward attempted to approach Young's vehicle to explain that Isaac Ward was emotional after recently returning from an out-of-state funeral.[2] Young Dep. at 38:7-10. Young placed his vehicle in reverse and backed away from Randee Ward's residence. R. Ward Dep. 20:10-14.

Roughly twenty minutes later, several police cars and six officers congregated in a nearby parking lot. Id. at 20:20-23. Randee Ward approached the officers, whereupon she was asked whether any weapons were in the residence and if Isaac Ward had a history of violence. Id. at 21:1-16. She answered no to both questions. Id.

Isaac Ward had a gross misdemeanor warrant for his arrest in Anoka County, and the officers approached the residence in a tactical manner due to his alleged threats of violence. Olson Dep. 43:18-44:3; 45:11-16. The officers rang the doorbell,

Page 960

and Isaac Ward buzzed the officers into the common area that the condominium shared with three other units. I. Ward Dep. 41:24-42:12. When Ward stepped out of the condominium and into the building entryway, five officers were present: Thomas Williams, Kevin Olson, Kerri Nolden, Heather Robinson and Heather Potter (collectively, the officers). Olson Dep. 42:3-9.

After asking Ward to identify himself, Williams informed Ward that he was under arrest and that he was to put his hands behind his back. Id. at 51:6-7; I. Ward Dep. 43:10-16. Ward alleges that he complied with the request, but that after he turned around, Olson punched him in the left eye. I. Ward Dep. 44:1-4. Olson does not dispute that he punched Ward, but explains that he struck Ward after observing him ball-up his fits and assume a fighting position. Olson Dep. 60:6-24. An unknown officer then struck Ward ...


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