Casper Cops Deny Claims They Roughed Up Woman During Arrest

Two city of Casper police officers have filed responses to a lawsuit that claims they used excessive force and illegally arrested a woman in 2020. The city also denies claims that it failed to train the officers properly.

DK
Dale Killingbeck

February 29, 20245 min read

Adrianah Rodriguez and courthouse 2 29 24

The city of Casper and a pair of its police officers deny allegations the officers illegally roughed up and violated a local woman’s civil rights when they responded to a noise complaint in January 202.

The denials come in a response the officers and city filed earlier this month and Monday to a lawsuit the woman, Adrianah Rodriguez, filed Dec. 14, 2023, alleging the officers unlawfully arrested her Jan. 5, 2020, and in doing so used excessive force, violated her constitutional free speech right and retaliated against her.

Attorneys for Officers Michael Quirin and Ryan Lowry, who responded to the complaint about a party that night, deny Rodriguez’s claims.

Cheyenne attorney Kay Lynn Bestol, representing Lowry, filed his response to Rodriguez’s allegations Monday denying any excessive force was used during her arrest. Lowry also says that comments he made to Quirin during the alleged takedown of Rodriguez, a Black/Latina woman, were taken out of context.

Rodriguez alleges Quirin put his knee on her neck after he took her to the ground because she told the officer he was “mistreating people” and that “I know my rights,” and then when allegedly asked by Quirin if she “wanted to be in custody” replied she did not.

Body Cam Remarks

Rodriguez states in her lawsuit that Lowry, “apparently alarmed by Officer Quinn’s disproportionate use of force after he placed his knee on Ms. Rodriguez’s neck, stated ‘Quirin, Qurin’ a few times but did nothing more to intervene or stop him from harming Ms. Rodriguez.”

“This defendant admits that he made the statements on the body cam,” Lowry’s response states, adding that he “denies the allegations (in the lawsuit) to the extent they do not accurately or completely reflect those statements. This defendant denies the remaining allegations.”

Both Lowry’s and Quirin’s responses argue for “qualified immunity” from the lawsuit because of their role as police officers, and Lowry’s response contends he “met the standard of care and used only necessary and reasonable force.”

Quirin in his response filed by Senior Assistant Attorney General Timothy W. Miller denies the claims related to his alleged use of force, putting a knee on her neck or handcuffing a fellow partygoer because he was on the phone with his father, who’s an attorney, about what was going on.

Quirin’s response also denies Rodriguez’s allegations regarding his response to a sergeant who arrived on the scene and took charge. The sergeant allegedly asked Quirin, “What are we going to do with her?” Rodriguez claims Quirin responded: “Probably interference.”

Rodriguez’s lawsuit alleges she was then arrested by Quirin and spent a night in jail before being released the next day with the charge against her being dropped.

Adrianah Rodriguez
Adrianah Rodriguez (Via Facebook)

Charge Not ‘Baseless’

Quirin’s response to the lawsuit also denies that the charge against Rodriguez was “baseless.”

Both officers’ responses state that Rodriguez fails to state a claim “on which relief can be granted” and that Rodriguez “failed to mitigate damages” or act appropriately in light of the circumstances.

For its part, the city of Casper’s answer to the lawsuit denies Rodriguez’s allegations that it failed to adequately train the officers or “has a custom, practice or policy of tolerating its officer’s retaliatory violations of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

The city’s response does admit to allegations made by Rodriguez that the city settled an April 2017 lawsuit related to alleged police violations of the U.S. Constitution’s First and Fourth amendments for $149,000 and a second civil rights lawsuit involving police actions in November 2017 for $85,000.

The city’s response states that the officers involved in Rodriguez’s arrest acted appropriately.

“All of the individual defendant officers’ acts were within the course and scope of his or her duties and all actions, inactions or omissions were privileged and authorized by law and reasonable in light of their training and the totality of circumstances,” the city’s response states. “The injuries and alleged damages complained of by the plaintiff were caused by the plaintiff or other third parties over which individual defendant officers had no control or are the result of pre-existing conditions which were not caused by individual defendant officers or this defendant.”

Rodriguez: ‘Force Disproportionate’

Rodriguez’s attorneys allege that officers and the city violated Rodriguez’s Fourth Amendment right against excessive force, and that Quirin’s use of force was “disproportionate to the need under the circumstances.”

The lawsuit also states her Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the “unlawful arrest” because Rodriguez did not violate any law.

The lawsuit states Quirin forced her arms behind her back, put his entire body weight on Rodriguez’s back and “wedged his knee into the back of her neck.”

Rodriguez went into a “panic attack” and “repeatedly stated, ‘I can’t breathe’ as she loudly hyperventilated,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also states that the city of Casper and Quirin violated Rodriguez’s First Amendment right to free speech; and that Quirin used force to “punish” Rodriguez for “exercising her First Amendment rights by silencing her and deterring her from speaking in the future.”

The lawsuit seeks economic damages, compensatory damages for “physical and emotional pain,” punitive damages to all claims, and attorney fees and costs.

Dale Killingbeck can be reached at dale@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Dale Killingbeck

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