Use of force was justified - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Use of force was justified

Jury finds in favor of deputy in suit over DUI arrest

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Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 12:15 am

COEUR d'ALENE - A jury in U.S. District Court returned a verdict in favor of a sheriff's deputy in a lawsuit filed by a man who claimed excessive force was used in his arrest.

Bonner County resident Joel Petty, 62, was arrested during the evening hours of March 8, 2008, for driving under the influence of alcohol following a two-vehicle accident on Schweitzer Mountain Road.

Bonner County Sheriff's Office deputy Clinton Mattingley responded to the accident scene. A passenger in the other vehicle suffered a back injury.

The deputy noticed the odor of alcohol on Petty, who also was unsteady on his feet and had slurred speech.

Field sobriety evaluations were performed on Petty before he was then arrested for DUI. Petty would later plead guilty to the charge.

In his lawsuit, Petty claimed that his civil rights had been violated because Mattingley handcuffed him with his hands behind his back after Petty complained of problems with his joints and a prior shoulder surgery.

Petty claimed Mattingley caused a right shoulder rotator cuff injury and that Mattingley's actions amounted to excessive force.

The seven-person jury disagreed with Petty's claims.

An additional charge against the Bonner County Sheriff's Office for failing to train on proper arrest procedures was dismissed by a judge prior to trial.

The sheriff's department and Mattingley were represented by Coeur d'Alene attorney Peter C. Erbland. Petty and his wife were represented by attorney Greg Devlin, of Spokane.

Erbland said, "The amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight."

Erbland said Mattingley handled the accident scene - involving six people - without backup.

The jury returned the verdict Friday.

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  • Joseph Jr posted at 7:05 pm on Tue, Jun 26, 2012.

    Joseph Jr Posts: 512

    What Yarply is saying, cannotbe denied.

    We do not know what happened. Let us pray that the officer was not abusive.

    It is difficult to be credible when you are a defendant. The auto accident could have very well caused the injuries. Hey...just sayin'.

    Still, we are all better off just doing the right thing. No drinking/drugs period.

  • yarply posted at 5:46 pm on Tue, Jun 26, 2012.

    yarply Posts: 489

    This was a no brainer. His lawyer should have told him, it's your word against his and he is a cop.
    Plus with the cop being the accused he is being tried by a jury of HIS peers.
    It was a no brainer from the get go. He probably could have shot the guy after handcuffing him and still gotten the same verdict.

  • Joseph Jr posted at 12:23 pm on Tue, Jun 26, 2012.

    Joseph Jr Posts: 512

    EXCLAMATION.......................Are you truly under the impression, that the prevailing party in any court case is an indicaation of justice?


  • Joseph Jr posted at 12:19 pm on Tue, Jun 26, 2012.

    Joseph Jr Posts: 512

    None of us were there when the guy was arrested. We do not know if excessive force was used.

    We do not live in a 3rd world country. Nope, we live in a nation which is suppose to be civil.

    I do not condone alcohol or drug use of any kind, and especially while driving.

    I also do not condone law officer's abusing citizens, or citizens condoning law enforcement abusing citizens they arrest.

    "I CARRY"....W.O.W. impressive!

    The odds of being injured in an automobile accident are greater than being injured by an assailant with a gun. Do you also drive around with a helmet on? Bwa hahahahha! Big man! woooo hooo! Shame on you!

  • exclamation posted at 7:07 am on Tue, Jun 26, 2012.

    exclamation Posts: 56

    Thats why we need a "loser pays" legal system. This whole thing should have never gotten that far.

  • I Carry posted at 6:39 am on Tue, Jun 26, 2012.

    I Carry Posts: 456

    BOO HOO ya schmuck!! And also to yer attorney for bringing this to court. One Call-That's All is just a lawyer's mating call.

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