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St. Paul reaches tentative settlement over police search of vehicle

  • Article by: Nicole Norfleet
  • Star Tribune
  • May 25, 2014 - 11:47 PM

St. Paul has tentatively reached a $42,000 settlement with a man who said his vehicle was unreasonably searched by a police officer, according to a City Council agenda made public Thursday.

Clifton McWright and his attorney filed a complaint last year against the city and officer David Quast.

If the agreement is approved by the City Council, McWright would get $7,500 and his attorney, Joshua R. Williams, will be paid $34,587 for litigation and attorney fees.

The city doesn’t admit liability in the agreement.

McWright was stopped by Quast in his car in March 2012, and McWright said Quast told him that he suspected McWright had a gun.

McWright said Quast ordered him out of the vehicle and when McWright obliged, Quast handcuffed him and searched the vehicle, including the passenger compartment and the trunk without probable cause, according to the civil complaint. Quast found no weapons.

According to a memorandum filed by the city attorney’s office, Quast had interacted with McWright earlier and had learned that he did not have a valid driver’s license. The city said that Quast formulated his basis for the search from a combination of factors, including that McWright had been shot a few days earlier and he had information that McWright might possess guns.

According to Quast’s personnel file, he was certified as a St. Paul police officer in 1996. He’s received 16 commendations during his time with the department but received oral reprimands in 1999 and 2001 for violating department policy.

 

Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495

Twitter: @stribnorfleet

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