August 29, 2009 in City

Three lawsuits target CdA police

Wrongful arrest, assault among plaintiffs’ claims
By The Spokesman-Review
 

A man says he was wrongfully jailed for attempted rape for four months before the charge was dropped a day before trial because of lack of evidence.

A woman claims police broke bones in her face when they forced her to the ground after mistaking her drunken stumbling for a threat. Officers had responded to her apartment on a report she’d been assaulted.

Another woman says officers assaulted her at a hospital when she checked in after blacking out. Police suspected the man who drove her there was drunk.

Those claims are detailed in three lawsuits filed against the Coeur d’Alene Police Department by a lawyer who said he sues law enforcement for a living.

Larry Purviance has about a dozen active lawsuits against Kootenai County law enforcement agencies, including one filed last month involving a woman who claims an officer groped her during a traffic stop.

One lawsuit brought by a man claiming Post Falls police used excessive force during a 2008 traffic stop was dismissed last month by a federal judge. Purviance filed the three most recent lawsuits Aug. 21. He and each plaintiff are to present litigation plans to Judge Edward Lodge by November.

The first lawsuit, filed on behalf of Jason Lee Lorenz, claims police wrongfully arrested him and allowed him to be prosecuted on baseless charges.

Lorenz, who was born in 1975, went to his ex-wife’s home at her invitation March 14, got drunk and fell asleep, the lawsuit claims. He was jailed for attempted rape until the charge was dismissed July 13; his requests for bail reduction “were consistently denied,” the suit alleges.

The second suit accuses Coeur d’Alene police of assaulting Theresa Lynn Campbell at Kootenai Medical Center. Campbell went to the hospital for panic attacks, but left after a dispute with staff. She returned after she blacked out in a car driven by a man police suspected was drunk, according to the suit.

Campbell, who was born in 1974, claims she awoke to bruises she didn’t have before officers arrived. A registered nurse said Campbell struck him and then slapped a police officer before being arrested, according to a police report.

In the third lawsuit, Coeur d’Alene police officers responded to 39-year-old Shannon Kanda’s apartment in the 1800 block of Legends Parkway around 9:20 p.m. May 7 after her neighbor called and said she’d been assaulted.

A police news release May 8 said Kanda hit an officer’s hands, then swung at an officer. An officer deflected her punch and two “took her to the ground to control her movement,” leading to a “facial injury,” according to the news release.

But Purviance said Kanda was unsteady because of alcohol and resisted a police order because she was afraid, according to the lawsuit.

After Kanda was injured she was transported to the hospital, where police kept her “painfully handcuffed to a hospital gurney, telling her they would let her go if she was a ‘good girl,’ until a hospital nurse complained and insisted that they release the Plaintiff’s restraint,” Purviance wrote.

Police Chief Wayne Longo asked the Idaho State Police to investigate the case. The ISP couldn’t be reached for comment Friday. Longo has said he supports the officers involved in the cases.


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