- Associated Press - Friday, October 30, 2015

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) - An Idaho man is suing the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, saying deputies used excessive force against him in June.

In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court Wednesday, Preston Mcdowell of Rigby said two deputies dragged him from his home without a warrant and used a Taser on him when he wouldn’t let them enter, reported The Post Register (https://bit.ly/1Ndy1qh ).

He said the incident caused severe and permanent injuries to his leg.

The complaint names Emerson Parsons, who works for the Rigby Police Department, and Antonio Gonzales, who is with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Offices, but it lists both as working for the Sheriff’s Office.

According to the complaint, Mcdowell’s acquaintance reported an act of vandalism to the police and Gonzales and Parsons went to question Mcdowell about it.

The document says Mcdowell spoke to the officers through a crack in the door and told them to leave, but Gonzales put his foot in the door to keep it open.

Mcdowell said he would discuss the complaint the following day, but Gonzales forced the door open and “forcibly dragged (Mcdowell) from his home,” then gave him “several excruciating stuns from a Taser,” according to the complaint.

Mcdowell was charged June 24 with resisting or obstructing officers and a misdemeanor vandalism charge.

“I’m very concerned at how cavalier the police officers were in violating his constitutional rights,” said Jason Wood, Mcdowell’s attorney. “We may just have rogue officers or we may have a law enforcement agency teaching its officers this OK to do. That is even more disconcerting.”

Wood said there is video of the incident taken by Mcdowell’s wife and footage from one of the officer’s body cameras. It shows Gonzales shoving the door open and pulling Mcdowell out, according to the attorney.

“There is absolutely no right for them to enter your house without a warrant” unless there are very specific circumstances, like immediate danger to someone inside the home or the need to prevent the imminent destruction of evidence.

Mcdowell is suing for an amount of money to be determined at trial.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sam Tower says the office can’t comment on pending litigation and hasn’t yet received any paperwork about Mcdowell’s complaint.

The defendants were mailed a summons letter Thursday that must be replied to within 21 days, according to court records.


Information from: Post Register, https://www.postregister.com

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