A western Minnesota man is taking a former Otter Tail County sheriff’s deputy to federal court, arguing in a lawsuit filed this week that he suffered a serious brain injury from a violent arrest two years ago.
The excessive-force lawsuit names the former deputy, Jeremias “J.J.” Krupich, and the county as defendants in the beating of Kameron Boudin at his home in Parkers Prairie — a town of about 1,000 people 2 ½ hours northwest of the Twin Cities — on Dec. 13, 2018. Authorities had been looking for Boudin in connection with a bar fight earlier that night, according to the suit.
It seeks $5 million in damages. An e-mail seeking comment from the Otter Tail Sheriff’s Office went unreturned late Monday.
The suit said that Krupich and four other law enforcement officers found Boudin hiding at his home near the bar. One deputy’s body camera showed Krupich punching Boudin several times in the face, while sitting on top of him.
None of the other officers and deputies in the room intervened, the suit alleges, with some laughing as the struggle continued.
Boudin suffered a significant injury to his frontal lobe, the suit said. He later had to be airlifted to a hospital in North Dakota, where he underwent a series of surgeries that left 27 screws and seven plates in his head, the suit says.
“No objectively reasonable officer would have delivered multiple, extremely forceful head strikes to Boudin under these circumstances,” the suit reads, adding that Boudin still faces diminished cognitive capabilities.
Boudin was charged with two counts of fifth-degree assault, and single counts each of disorderly conduct and fleeing a peace officer, all misdemeanors. The suit said the timing of the charges appear “retaliatory in nature.”
After the beating, the lawsuit claims, the deputy with the body camera is heard on a recording saying to another officer, while laughing, that Otter Tail does not mess around.
The other, unnamed, officer responded: “Why?”
The deputy goes on to say that Krupich was on top and “punches this dude in the face like six times as hard as he could.”
According to the lawsuit, the Sheriff’s Office later asked the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for help investigating the matter, but failed to provide an accurate account of the incident, clearing the way for Krupich to be absolved of criminal wrongdoing. He has since been fired, the suit said.
The suit was brought by attorney Bob Bennett, who has frequently sued law enforcement officers on brutality claims.