A woman who was arrested after a 2014 confrontation outside a bar in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood has sued the police officer involved, alleging that he used unnecessary force and then lied about the basis for the arrest in a police report.
The plaintiff, Meghan Johnson, filed suit Monday in U.S. District Court against the city and Efrem Hamilton, who faces felony assault charges in an unrelated incident. The lawsuit, which seeks $200,000 in damages, alleges that Hamilton unnecessarily shoved Johnson to the ground while trying to arrest another man, causing “pain, extreme humiliation and distress.” The suit does not detail her injuries.
Johnson also contends that Hamilton ordered his police partner to arrest her and then falsely claimed in a police report that Johnson attempted to interfere with his arrest of the other man.
In a statement, City Attorney Susan Segal said: “We have the lawsuit and are defending the case.” The Police Department says it doesn’t comment on pending cases.
The lawsuit grew out of Johnson’s arrest on the evening of May 18, 2014. According to the suit, Johnson and a group of friends were waiting to get into the popular Bar Louie when she saw Hamilton confronting another man in line about drinking alcohol.
When the man ignored Hamilton’s commands to leave the area, the officer tried to arrest him, but instead ended up pushing Johnson to the ground. Hamilton later claimed in a police report that Johnson tried to intervene by pushing his hands away, the suit says. Johnson said that never happened.
She was later charged with obstructing the legal process, but the charges were eventually dropped.
In its answer to the lawsuit, the city admitted that Hamilton and his partner, Stephane Courtois, responded to a disturbance outside Bar Louie but denied that Hamilton used excessive force during the arrest or that he lied in his report.
In January, Hamilton was charged with felony assault after shooting into a carful of people that inadvertently rammed his police cruiser during a downtown melee last fall. As a result, he remains relieved of duty, pending the outcome of an investigation by the Internal Affairs Division. The city later agreed to a $150,000 settlement brought by the car’s six occupants.