2002 Story: Two DCSO deputies, sheriff’s office and county charged in lawsuit
October 15, 2002
The head of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office internal affairs division wants to know why key evidence in charges of excessive force was not released when the complaint was made.
Lt. Paul Howell, who heads the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Professional Standards Unit, wants to know why the attorney for a Gardnerville man saying deputies roughed him up during his arrest last year didn’t come forth with an videotape showing the alleged excessive force.
“I am at a loss to explain,” said Howell. “You’ll have to ask why he withheld information.”
Howell said he only recently learned of an videotape allegedly showing two Douglas County sheriff’s deputies using excessive force during the April 2001 arrest of Gene T. Jordan, 20, of Gardnerville.
Jordan and attorney Andy Boles filed the civil rights lawsuit Friday in federal U.S. District Court in Reno, naming Douglas County, the sheriff’s office, Sheriff Ron Pierini and “unnamed sheriff’s deputies one and two” on charges of excessive force.
According to a U.S. District Court clerk, the lawsuit alleges civil rights violations and seeks damages, injunctive relief and attorney fees D not to exceed $50,000.
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A spokesman from the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office Tuesday said the county had not been served the lawsuit as of press time. Howell said the sheriff’s office had not been served either. Pierini could not be reached for comment.
Boles said Jordan originally refused to stop when pulled over by deputies for a traffic violation last year. When Jordan eventually stopped his car, Boles said deputies choked (Jordan) and slammed his head onto a car when he was handcuffed.
“He got beat up by the cops,” said Boles. “He was just bruised up and didn’t need hospitalization.”
He said a Gardnerville resident shot the video and caught Jordan’s arrest as a “fluke.”
“You can’t lie with pictures,” he said.
Boles said Jordan served eight months of a year sentence for eluding deputies on the Douglas County charge and was released from jail. Jordan then went to Folsom Prison in California on a probation violation and was released this month.
In August, Jordan made a complaint against two deputies, which prompted the internal investigation, Howell said.
Boles said Jordan waited until his release from prison to file the lawsuit because he feared for his safety while in custody. He said he has one copy of the alleged videotape for review but has lost contact information for the unknown resident who shot it.
Howell said the deputies involved in the internal investigation and unnamed in the federal lawsuit are Dan Coverley and Anthony Elges.
Howell said the sheriff’s office investigation is ongoing and separate from the lawsuit.
“The internal investigation is separate from the lawsuit. It won’t alter or hinder the suit,” said Howell.
“But I heard about a videotape. We had asked (Boles and Jordan) for any witness information and they said they knew of none.
“I am at a loss as to why he didn’t provide that information.”
Howell said the investigation looking into Jordan’s excessive force claims is the only such internal investigation at the sheriff’s office.
“Our department stands behind our record of cleaning our own house,” Howell said.
n R-C Staff Writer Regina Purcell can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org