Lakota man appeals ruling on suit alleging excessive force

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal

LAKOTA, N.D. (AP) — A Lakota man is appealing a federal judge's decision to throw out his lawsuit accusing authorities of excessive force during a June 2011 altercation over stray cattle on his property.

Rodney Brossart filed the lawsuit against the Nelson County sheriff and deputy sheriff after the incident, which escalated after authorities went to his farm to investigate a report that Brossart was holding cattle that didn't belong to him.

Court documents show that Brossart was shocked with a stun gun seven times in four minutes after he objected to his arrest. He and two other family members were seeking unspecified compensation for physical and emotional distress, medical expenses, loss of wages and other damages.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson last month ruled that Brossart's arrest was not a violation of "any clearly established law," and that Nelson County does not have an unconstitutional policy authorizing offensive acts.

Defense attorney Tim Lamb on Friday filed notice of the appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Brossart's arrest was a culmination of tension between the family and law enforcement. The case drew widespread attention because police used a military-style unmanned drone to conduct surveillance before the arrest, after then-Sheriff Kelly Janke said he was confronted by three men brandishing rifles when he first went to investigate the missing cows.

A state court jury in 2013 convicted Brossart on a criminal charge of preventing arrest.

He also was found guilty of terrorizing, but the North Dakota Supreme Court tossed out that conviction and Brossart was acquitted on the charge after a second trial.