Excessive force due to dog bite is alleged in court filing

Mapleton Police Chief Jared Clausen and the City of Mapleton are the subjects of a lawsuit filed by Darrell Bowen of Danbury that was recently filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, Sioux City Division.

According to court documents filed May 10 in the lawsuit, Bowen alleges his constitutional rights were violated by Clausen during a traffic stop on June 12, 2017, by Clausen “utilizing excessive force while punitively and sadistically using a police dog or K-9 on the Plaintiff when he posed no reasonable risk of harm or safety to any officer or other individuals present on the day of question.”

The lawsuit states that the events occurring in Monona and Woodbury Counties and alleges that during the traffic stop, Bowen noticed that Clausen was attempting to pull him over. Bowen “pulled over to the side of Highway 175, unmounted his motorcycle, and attempted to put his kickstand for his motorcycle down” when Clausen “exited his vehicle, and without warning, released his K-9 from the back of his police cruiser,” and Bowen “was viciously bitten by Defendant Clausen’s police dog or K-9.”

According to the lawsuit, Bowen suffered injuries from being bitten by the dog, and he required medical treatment as a result. He has since suffered psychological and emotional injuries due to Clausen’s actions.

In its filing against the City of Mapleton, the lawsuit alleges that the City of Mapleton “deliberately and with reckless regard for the constitutional rights of its citizens failed to establish an adequate and sufficient policy for training or supervising” officers within the department relating to use of force on a citizen, particularly when using a police dog.

It also alleges that the City of Mapleton failed to train or adequately train its law enforcement officers in “fundamental police procedures as they pertain to use of police dog or K-9s and/or failed to properly supervise, train, or control its officers regarding the appropriate use of compliance techniques, thereby leading to the unreasonable and inappropriate decision to employ the police dog or K-9 on Plaintiff.”

Bowen is asking for a jury trial in the lawsuit and is seeking damages against the defendant in an amount as yet to be determined, as well as compensation for violation of his constitutional rights, loss of income and earning capacity, humiliation, degradation, public ridicule, loss of personal and professional reputation, and emotional distress.

Bowen also seeks reimbursement for the costs of the lawsuit, including attorney’s fees, and punitive damages.

Clausen was hired by the City of Mapleton in October 2014 as the community’s Police Chief.

Online Petition

An online petition seeking the removal of Clausen as Mapleton’s Police Chief was stated on change.org.

The petition, titled “Remove Chief Jared Clausen from a position of power” was started by Shana Moss, who claims in the petition’s description that Clausen “uses his badge as a means of harassment, stalking, intimidation and bullying the citizens of the town along with citizens of surrounding towns.”

The description also states that Clausen “follows young girls around and pulls them over for no reason and has been known to sit outside of young girls’ homes watching who is coming and going. It also states that Clausen is rude and unprofessional and has been the reason for many people to move from the community.

The petition is directed to the “City of Mapleton Iowa, City Council of Mapleton Iowa, and City of Mapleton Mayor Donna Shaw.”

As of Tuesday morning, June 4, at 9:55 a.m., the petition has garnered 1,101 signatures with a goal of 1,500 signatures. It is unclear how many of the people who signed the petition are from the Mapleton area.

Moss also states that she has reached out to Governor Kim Reynolds, and received a reply from Megan Hall, Office of the Governor Constituent Liaison, confirming the contact to the governor’s office and also referring Moss to the Iowa Ombudsman to further work through the case.

Opposing Viewpoint

Not everyone feels the same way as Moss, who started the online petition against Clausen. Kurt Schmidt posted on the Mapleton Press Facebook page on May 26, stating that he did not agree with the petition.

Schmidt’s post reads, “Came across this today, who started this? Heaven forbid a cop come to a small town and do his job. Let’s put some numbers to him while hes been here. How many drug busts? How many DUI arrests has he made? Those are the numbers that matter. And the numbers are big. I like him and like the job he is doing. Do I have some concerns? Maybe. Maybe some more speeding tickets wrote in town would be great, but to think you can get rid of a cop because he is ruining your party or busting you drinking and driving to your house is funny as hell. He has taken enough meth out of this town to impress me. And when you see his car you get a tad scared and make sure you are obiding the law. That’s the job of a cop. Not to have snow ball fights with kids, not to be buddy buddy with everyone. Not to impress the city leaders. Not to post how nice he is on Facebook. Cops need to quit with all of this public relations and start being what they are the law.”

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