A Newport resident is suing the city for violating his civil rights in October 1995, when a city policeman burst into his home in the middle of the night without a warrant.
Former officer Ed Miller Jr. was responding to what he considered telephone harassment by Troy Dexter, according to public records.
Dexter had called Miller and other officers about the impounding of his car earlier in the day after a friend using it was arrested for drunken driving.
Although Miller said at the time that Dexter threatened his life over the phone, Dexter claimed he merely called the officer names.
In his lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Spokane, Dexter said he and his wife, Betsy, and their three young children were terrified when Miller burst into their home at 3:30 a.m. and held them at gunpoint.
The family seeks unspecified damages from the city, Miller, Mayor Kevin Murphy and Police Chief Gary Markwardt.
Dexter claims Miller doused him with pepper spray when he refused to cooperate. The officer appeared at Dexter’s bedroom door with his gun drawn and attempted to take Dexter into custody.
Miller pointed his pistol at Betsy Dexter and daughter Celeste, then 9, as well as Troy Dexter, the lawsuit states.
Dexter says Miller continued to rough him up even after he surrendered to a Pend Oreille County sheriff’s deputy who came to back up Miller when the family called for help.
Miller slammed Dexter’s head into a doorjamb while Dexter was handcuffed, the lawsuit states.
Dexter was released from jail when county Prosecutor Tom Metzger refused Miller’s request to charge Dexter with felony assault and intimidating an officer. City prosecutors later dropped the misdemeanor charges he filed against Dexter.
Miller, now 42, was suspended two days after the October 1995 incident, and he resigned under pressure two months later.
Miller was convicted last November of conducting an illegal search and was sentenced to 30 days of home detention.