MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A lawsuit against a southern Minnesota city and its police department alleges that excessive force was used in an arrest earlier this year, leaving a man with several broken bones and nearly $150,000 in medical bills.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the lawsuit Monday against the city of Worthington and its police department. The suit names the police chief, Troy Appel, officer Mark Riley, and Riley’s friend, Evan Eggers, who was on a ride-along at the time of the arrest.
The victim is identified as Kelvin Francisco Rodriquez, an Iowa man who works in Worthington.
During the arrest on Jan. 12, he suffered four broken ribs and internal bleeding due to lacerations to his pancreas and liver, according to the ALCU. The lawsuit alleges that he told officers multiple times that he needed to go to a hospital but they refused to take him to one for several hours.
By the time Rodriquez got medical attention, he had to be airlifted to a hospital in South Dakota, where he was hospitalized for five days, incurring close to $150,000 in medical bills.
The lawsuit alleges that Rodriquez’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the use of excessive force and his Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by the delay in medical treatment.
Dashcam Video Of Kelvin Rodriquez’s Arrest
In a statement released by the ACLU, Rodriquez says he’s speaking about what happened to him because it’s happening to other people in the Worthington.
“As a human being, I ask that the police be held accountable for not adequately doing their job and respecting me as a human being,” he said. “My wife and children saw me going in and out of life and death. I think it is fair to ask for justice.”
According to the lawsuit, Rodriquez’s arrest came after he noticed a squad car trailing him and, out of fear of how police treat minorities in Worthington, tried to avoid them by turning into a parking lot.
The squad car followed Rodriquez into the lot, where he quickly parked his car and started to run. But when the squad car’s emergency lights flashed, he stopped and put his hands up. This can be seen in police dashcam video.
Riley ordered Rodriquez to get on the ground and put his hands behind his back. While out of view of the dashcam video, Riley places his knee and full body weight on Rodriquez’s ribs, the lawsuit alleges. Rodriquez can be heard on the video moaning in pain.
The lawsuit is seeking damages to be paid to Rodriquez, although no specific dollar amount was listed.
This is the second time that the ACLU has sued Worthington and its police department over what it claimed was the use of excessive force. In 2016, Anthony Promvongsa was pulled over by a drug task force and punched and kneed while he was still seat-belted in his car.
That case ended with a $60,000 settlement for Promvongsa, and the city agreeing to a number of policy changes dealing with use of force.
Among the policy changes was a requirement for Worthington officers to document when they see officers using force. The lawsuit filed on behalf of Rodriquez accuses the police department of not following this and other policies related to use of force.
WCCO reached out to the Worthington Police Department for comment.