Dubuque Police, city face three excessive force lawsuits - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque Police, city face three excessive force lawsuits

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Suzanne Potter's injuries as a result of alleged excessive force. Suzanne Potter's injuries as a result of alleged excessive force.
Angela Hafner's injuries after alleged excessive force was used to arrest her. Angela Hafner's injuries after alleged excessive force was used to arrest her.
Surveillance video shows Officer Ryan Clark slamming Korey Monahan into bus steps after she threatened to punch him. Surveillance video shows Officer Ryan Clark slamming Korey Monahan into bus steps after she threatened to punch him.
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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Alleged use of excessive force by Dubuque's Police means the department, along with the city, are facing three lawsuits.

The first two have already been filed by Cedar Rapids attorney Dave O'Brien, and he says he expects to file the third by next week.

The first suit was filed Suzanne Potter for an incident that happened Dec. 30, 2013.

According to the suit, Potter believed her daughter was being held hostage. She believed her daughter was being held by a convicted sex offender, but couldn't find her when allowed to search the apartment.

The lawsuit says Officer Jay Murray grabbed Potter after threatening to arrest her. She then alleges Murray threw her into the cab of a pickup, causing injuries to her head.

She was charged with second-degree burglary.

In the second suit already filed, Angela Hafner claims she was slammed to the ground by Officer Nick Schlosser after leaving an "open-air concert."

She says she had consumed some alcohol, but wasn't acting inappropriately.

The suit alleges, "Without justification, Schlosser hand cuffed Hafner with her arms behind her back, slammed her face first into the ground, and then forced her head against the ground, making it difficult to breath and impossible for her to ask for help, all causing severe lacerations and bruising."

Her charges were later dropped.

The City of Dubuque has responded to both suits in federal court, denying the allegations and asking the lawsuits be dismissed at plaintiffs' cost. They claim qualified immunity for the officers and say the city is immune for liability for punitive damages.

Both suits are set to go to trial next summer.

As for the third, O'Brien says he should have it filed by next week.

In that case, Korey Monahan will sue Officer Ryan Clark and the city for an incident happened on Sept. 14, 2014, on a Jule Bus.

KWWL obtained surveillance video from the bus that shows Clark slamming Monahan into the stairs of the steps after she threatens to punch him.

O'Brien says all three incidents are indicative of a system that needs to change in the Dubuque Police Department.

"We do believe that there will be a change in the protocol exercised by the Dubuque Police Department, if we're successful in these cases. And perhaps even if we're unsuccessful, we can bring some things to light that will cause them to change the way they're doing things," he said.

Mark Dalsing, Dubuque's Chief of Police, doesn't agree.

"I would disagree with his assessment. As an example, in 2014 we had over 4,000 arrests, and of that, there was only a use of force report filed by the officers only about 5 percent of the time, so a bulk of the time -- 95 percent of the time -- we're able to de-escalate and not go to a hands-on situation," he said.

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