UW Student Settles with City of Laramie Following Taser Incident
This past week a University of Wyoming student from Casper settled with the City of Laramie over a tasering incident that occurred back in April of 2010 outside The Library Sports Bar & Brewery in Laramie.
According to the lawsuit following the incident and reports by the Casper Star Tribune, Laramie Police responded to complaints that UW student Patrick Lewallen would not leave the Library Bar. Lewallen was already intoxicated upon entering the bar who proceeded to serve him six more glasses of beer. Tests following the incident confirmed that Lewallen's blood alcohol concentration was .232, well over twice the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle in the state of Wyoming.
Accounts of what took place following the Laramie Police Department's arrival at The Library Sports Bar & Brewery differ, and what happened at that time was the basis for the lawsuit. According to the responding Laramie Police officer, Christopher Cleven, Lewallen fled The Library Bar after he arrived and explained to Lewallen that they needed to have a talk. Cleven claimed to have issued mutiple verbal orders to stop. When the UW student began to run across Grand Avenue, officer Cleven tasered him from the back, causing him to fall and knock his face into the curb. Lewallen claimed that he never knew he was being persued by officer Cleven and received no warning that he was going to be shot with a taser. During the fall several bones in Lewallen's face and some teeth were broken and he claims to suffered permanent injuries as a result of the fall.
Details from the lawsuit proceeding the action established claims by Lewallen that officer Cleven used unnecessary and excessive force, saying that “He was not fleeing and was not evading arrest. In fact, if he had to be arrested for anything, Cleven could have accomplished that after Lewallen had crossed the street to safety.” The suit came against two other Laramie Police officers as well for unproper training of officer Cleven.
In a press release from the City of Laramie about the recent settlement, they concurred with the Senior Assistant Attourney General Theodore Racines who said;
Indeed, Officer Cleven acted in accordance with his training and within policy in deploying a Taser on Lewallen.
Since the case was settled outside of court, Lewallen may have recceive compensation from the incident on top of the State Self Insurance Program that already paid him $49,000.