The Herald Bulletin

October 2, 2013

Police brutality claim will go to trial

By Jack Molitor The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — An Anderson’s man claim that police used excessive force when arresting him is headed for a trial by jury, a judge decided Tuesday.

Madison Circuit 2 Judge George Pancol denied on Tuesday a motion for summary judgment sought by the city.

Roger Chandler, 31, of Anderson, filed a tort claim in December 2011, alleging APD officers Ryan Geer and Brian Porter used excessive force when arresting him May 31, 2010.

A motion for summary judgment is essentially a request for a judge to make a ruling on a case or portions of a case before it goes to trial. In this instance, the city requested that Pancol dismiss the case outright.

”Based on the designated evidence, I did not feel defense had met their burden for summary judgment,” Pancol said.

Chandler and attorneys Lisa Deley and Mark Dudley have maintained that the officers violated the due-process clause of the 14th Amendment, which acts as a safeguard against unreasonable procedures by police.

On Tuesday, Deley said she was pleased with the judge’s decision, and that the evidence in the case requires a trial setting to be properly examined.

”By the denying the motion, the judge has said he thinks that, too,” Deley said. “Now Roger will get his day in court.”

According to the details of the case, Chandler led APD officers on a high-speed chase near 14th and Main streets in downtown Anderson after officers, who had noticed a car being driven without its headlights, attempted a traffic stop.

Police say Chandler, who had been previously convicted as a habitual traffic offender, sped away and ignored red lights, until he lost control of the car, hit a parked pickup truck, and ran on foot.

When officers caught up with Chandler in the 2400 block of Noble Street, he appeared drunk and acted aggressively, elbowing Geer in the nose, according to police. One officer used a stun gun on Chandler, and Geer broke Chandler’s jaw while attempting to subdue him.

In 2011, Chandler pleaded guilty to resisting arrest, operating a vehicle as a habitual traffic offender and operating while intoxicated, closing the door on the criminal case.

Deley said there are discrepancies on how Chandler’s jaw was broken. She said Chandler is unsure, but that he believes Geer used his foot. Other officers reported that Geer elbowed Chandler two or three times.

“The majority of the claims support our side,” Deley said.

With the decision made by Pancol, the case is set for trial on Oct. 21 in Court 2.

Richard Walker, the attorney representing the City of Anderson, could not be reached for comment.

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