Sunday, August 06, 2000

Lawsuit against police passes magistrate's review

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — A federal lawsuit accusing police officers of civil rights violations should not be dismissed, a federal magistrate has recommended.

        But U.S. Magistrate Norah McCann King did rule that the Justice Department should have to prove the city was responsible for violations by its officers, which would make it harder for the Justice Department to prove its case.

        Magistrate King made the recommendations Friday in her report to U.S. District Judge John Holschuh, who is expected to decide later this year whether the case should be dismissed.

        The lawsuit against the city and its police department was filed Oct. 21. It accuses officers of abusing civil rights by filing false charges, using excessive force and conducting illegal searches and seizures.

        The city and the Fraternal Order of Police have said Congress overstepped its authority by allowing the Justice Department to sue cities when officers violate citizens' civil rights. They also contended the allegations were too vague.

        Magistrate King disagreed, finding that the law is valid and that a lawsuit does not have go into detail about the allegations.

        She did agree with the union's contention that the department must prove the city was responsible for alleged violations by individual officers.


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