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For the week of Nov. 17, 1999 through Nov. 23, 1999

Bellevue and deputy deny brutality claims

Officers say they were hit, kicked and spit upon during arrests


By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer

A lawsuit filed by a Bellevue resident against the city of Bellevue and a Bellevue deputy marshal was brought "frivolously and unreasonably," the defendants claimed in an answer to the suit filed last week in federal District Court in Boise.

The suit was filed by Catherine M. Rahn against the city and deputy Cory J. Hart, alleging that Hart used unnecessary force in July 1998 when issuing a speeding ticket to her and subsequently arresting her for misdemeanor battery.

The defendants have asked that the suit be dismissed and that they be awarded their costs and attorney’s fees.

"From what we know so far, it doesn’t look like a suit should have been filed over this," the defendants’ attorney, David Sasser, said in an interview.

According to a statement by Hart contained in Rahn’s criminal file, he had stopped her for driving 57 miles per hour in a 45-miles-per-hour zone. He stated that Rahn’s daughter, Catherine J. Hungelmann, then 20 years old, was a passenger in the car. Hart stated that when he issued Rahn the citation, she started screaming.

"I answered her question and began to walk back to my patrol vehicle," Hart wrote. "Rahn then got out of her car and began to run at me screaming ‘Now it’s my turn.’ Rahn ran up to me and deliberately hit me with her shoulder. Rahn was flailing her arms and again struck me in the chest. I called for backup because Rahn was escalating the situation very quickly. I then placed Rahn under arrest for battery.

"When I placed (the) No. 1 cuff on Rahn she went limp and fell to the ground. Rahn was screaming and would not give me her other hand. I was then kicked and spit on by Hungelmann."

Hart’s version of events was corroborated by written statements submitted by four witnesses.

According to a statement by witness Tom Lloyd, a Wood River Fire and Rescue member, Hungelmann "spit at Officer Hart and then at the other officer. Another man walked over and helped Officer Hart finish the arrest. The girl started yelling at the civilian. She then started yelling vulgar language at the officers.

"A Hailey police car then arrived and the two Bellevue policemen proceeded to arrest the daughter. She started to kick and do just about everything she could to the officers. The two Hailey officers jumped out of the car, ran up to assist and finish the arrest. They got the cuffs on her and went to take her to the police car. She turned and spit in Officer Hart’s face. They put her in the police car."

The battery charge against Rahn was dropped as the result of a deferred prosecution agreement, filed Jan. 5, under which the state agreed to dismiss the charge if she were not charged with any criminal offense for six months. Hailey prosecuting attorney Rick Allington did not return phone calls to explain why the charge was dismissed.

Hungelmann was also arrested for misdemeanor battery. She pleaded guilty on Dec. 28, 1998, and received a withheld judgment, a $263.50 fine and 18 months probation.

 

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Copyright 1999 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.