VALLEY CITY, N.D. — Valley City plans to “vigorously” fight a federal lawsuit claiming its police officers violated the rights of a 72-year-old man who died after they arrested him on suspicion of DUI.
City Attorney Carl Martineck announced Friday, May 10, that Officers Christopher Olson and Wade Hanning were served documents detailing allegations made by the estate of Warren Lindvold, who was arrested July 15. He died six days later of a broken neck at a Fargo hospital.
On May 3, Aaland Law Firm in Fargo filed a civil rights lawsuit for LuAnne Janssen, the representative for Lindvold’s estate. The defendants have until July 9 to respond in federal court to the lawsuit; they had not done so as of Friday. Martineck said attorney Daniel Gaustad will represent the city.
“The City of Valley City and Officers (Christopher) Olson and (Wade) Hannig intend to vigorously defend the allegations in the complaint,” Martineck said in a statement. “Each is entitled to have all of the facts surrounding the arrest of Mr. Lindvold heard, and to defend the professionalism of these police officers.”
Olson and Hanning, who arrested Lindvold, are accused in the lawsuit of knowing Lindvold had ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis that limited his mobility and may have made him appear intoxicated. The lawsuit also alleges officers used excessive force and violated Lindvold’s rights.
The Cass County State’s Attorney's Office declined to pursue criminal charges against the officers.
The lawsuit also names several Barnes County Jail officers, Barnes County Sheriff Randy McClauflin, Barnes County Ambulance, the county itself, National Medical Resources and Mercy Hospital in Valley City. The lawsuit alleges medical malpractice and claims jail officers were indifferent to Lindvold’s medical needs.
A Barnes County Ambulance official declined to comment. McClauflin, National Medical Resources and Mercy Hospital did not immediately return messages seeking comment.