The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled the City of North Liberty, Johnson County, police officers and deputies can be sued in connection with an incident that occurred during a concert in North Liberty in 2007.
The ruling reverses a District Court decision to dismiss the lawsuit against on grounds the police and government officials were entitled to immunity.
The decision comes after Joshua Thomas alleged he was wrongfully assaulted and arrested by North Liberty police officers and Johnson County sheriff’s deputies while attending a concert at North Liberty Fun Days in 2007.
In May 2009, Thomas sued for assault, battery, false arrest and malicious prosecution, but the District Court ruled, in a summary judgement, that the city, county and law enforcement officials involved could not be sued because they were acting on behalf of the state in an official capacity, under the Iowa Municipal Tort Claims Act.
The Appeals Court reversed that decision Friday, ruling Iowa Code does not make the defendants immune from being sued for assault, battery, false arrest and malicious prosecution.
In the suit, Thomas said a fight broke out at the concert, and, when he tried to intervene to break it up, he was grabbed by law enforcement, Tasered, handcuffed and arrested. Thomas said the use of a Taser was unnecessary and has caused him continued pain and muscle and ligament damage, according to court documents.
Thomas was originally charged with disorderly conduct, which was dropped before trial, and interference with official acts, of which he was later acquitted.
The Appeals Court ruled that Thomas’s claims against the city, county and law enforcement officials involved are not barred by Iowa Code, and that further proceedings could continue.