LAWRENCE, Kan. — A Lawrence firefighter has filed a lawsuit against the city accusing the police department of using excessive and negligent force against him during his arrest.

Witnesses say police arrived at the city’s Veterans of Foreign Wars hall to break up an argument on April 19, 2014 and one officer struck a man’s head against a squad car, The Lawrence Journal-World (http://bit.ly/2bDpxsW ) reported Tuesday.

According to court filings, witnesses say the officer then beat firefighter Miguel Armenta, who was at the scene.

Lawrence police say nobody was beaten and that officers acted within their rights to keep the peace.

Court documents say Armenta and a group of friends and VFW members had rented a party bus to attend a Kansas City Royals games, and that a fight began between one of the bus riders and his girlfriend. The argument continued in the parking lot of the VFW hall and a nearby resident called police. Another member came outside to intervene and separated the man and woman by placing the man inside of a pickup.

According to court documents, an officer arrived, ordered the man out of the pickup and placed the man in handcuffs. Witnesses say several officers worked to get the man into a patrol car and the initial officer became aggressive.

Armenta, a U.S. Navy veteran who served in the first Gulf War, was near another woman who was arrested during the incident. Sgt. Craig Shanks said Armenta was arrested for interfering with the woman’s arrest.

Armenta said his left arm was sprained when he was handled by police.

He was later found guilty of interfering with his own arrest. He was acquitted of two charges of interfering with law enforcement.

Armenta filed the civil lawsuit in October 2014 and the case is scheduled to begin in September.

The lawsuit is seeking $225,000 in compensation for Armenta’s injuries.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com