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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: Liberty Lake

Man arrested on DUI suspicion blames mom who isn’t there

A man arrested after crashing his vehicle and refusing a breathalyzer test earlier this week blamed the accident on his mother, who was nowhere near the scene of the accident.

Larry Coleman was found by Liberty Lake firefighters sitting behind the steering wheel of his car, which was resting in a snowy ditch along Interstate 90 around 6 p.m. Monday, according to court documents. Coleman was not injured and was the only person in the car when law enforcement arrived.

When a Washington State Patrol office arrived, Coleman had moved to the passenger's seat, according to court documents. He told the patrolman his mother had been driving at the time of the one-vehicle accident and that she'd started walking along the highway toward Liberty Lake following the crash.

Liberty Lake police officers and firefighters found no woman on the highway, according to court records.

Coleman admitted to drinking a couple beers and refused a breathalyzer test after speaking with an attorney. A court order was signed to test his blood for intoxicants and he was arrested, according to court documents.

Liberty Lake man disputes money owed to tow truck driver

A Liberty Lake patent holder whose allegations of police brutality were thrown out by a federal jury last month is continuing his protracted legal fight, appealing a judge's order he pay $10,000 to the tow truck driver whose repossession sparked a February 2010 spat.

Franklin Duncan filed paperwork in U.S. District Court earlier this month launching the appeal of an order from Judge Thomas O. Rice that he owed Victor Grant restitution. Duncan argued at trial that Grant entered the gated community where he lived near Liberty Lake golf course unlawfully to repossess his son's sports car. During their scuffle, Grant said Duncan tried to strangle him, while Duncan said Grant crushed his hand in the tow truck's winch.

A jury ruled unanimously in November that Duncan was at fault in the episode but awarded no damages. Following the ruling, Grant asked Rice to reconsider his request for compensation based on the Washington state strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) statute, which also mandates a penalty of $10,000 in addition to legal fees. Duncan argued that Grant's account of his behavior, which included punching a pillar and grinding his hand into a tree, amounted to a false report that prejudiced officers against him. Rice disagreed and granted Grant's request, prompting Duncan's appeal.

The case now heads to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, headquartered in California.



Medical expenses thrown out in repo man case

A federal judge ruled Friday a Liberty Lake father had not proven the police officers who used a stun gun to subdue him  were liable for the man's past and future medical expenses.

Franklin Duncan rested his case against Victor Grant and the Liberty Lake Police Department on Friday afternoon after four days of testimony from his family, doctors and other parties in the civil case. Duncan alleges Grant, a repo man tasked in February 2010 with towing a 1997 Audi A8 belonging to Duncan's son, intentionally crushed his hand using the truck's winch, while Grant says Duncan struck his girlfriend in the truck's cab then attempted to strangle him before police arrived. When they did, the officers - including Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus - eventually used a stun gun to arrest Duncan on charges of vehicle prowling and assault.

Duncan was seeking medical damages totaling less than $20,000, according to his attorney, Marcia Meade. But U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice ruled Friday that Meade had not proven Liberty Lake should have to pay any amount for Duncan's medical expenses.

Claims that the officers made Duncan's existing injuries worse through their conduct and used excessive force in detaining him remain in play with jurors, who will this week consider a countersuit brought by Grant against Duncan before their deliberations. The federal court is shuttered Monday in observance of Veteran's Day, but the trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday morning.

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