Local News

Lake Stevens pays $100,000 to couple to settle civil rights suit over cops’ actions

lawsuitLAKE STEVENS — The city of Lake Stevens has paid $100,000 to a couple after two police officers forced their way into their home without a warrant and forcibly arrested the man for a day-old ‘traffic citation,’ The Seattle Times reported Monday.

The city last week paid the money to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by homeowner Brandon Fenter, 27, over the incident, the Times said.

According to the lawsuit, off-duty Lake Stevens police officer Steve Warbis, in civilian clothes, waved Fenter down on a road in Marysville and said he, Fenter, was driving recklessly and he would be issuing him a traffic citation in the mail. The lawsuit noted Warbis had no jurisdiction in Marysville and said he had no cause to pull Fenter over.

The next night, Warbis and fellow police officer James Wellington showed up at Fenter’s home in Lake Stevens as Fenter, his wife, Tiffany,  their daughter and Fenter’s brother were sitting down to dinner.  Warbis reportedly said to Fenter, “Remember me?”

When Fenter refused to step outside of his home to be arrested, the two officers pushed their way into the home, “shoving Mr. Fenter violently and forcefully handcuffing him, causing injuries,” the suit claimed.

Fenter was taken to jail, where he was charged with reckless driving. The charge was later dismissed, and Fenter filed a federal civil rights suit after the Lake Stevens Police Department upheld the officers’ actions.

City Administrator Jan Berg told the Seattle Times that the city and its insurer agreed to settle the suit for $100,000.

Warbis and Wellington remain members of the Lake Stevens Police Department.

VIEW & ADD COMMENTS

4 Comments to “Lake Stevens pays $100,000 to couple to settle civil rights suit over cops’ actions”

    Kiki said:
    January 29, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    These cops need to be fired !!!!

      FedUpCitizen said:
      January 30, 2013 at 10:37 AM

      You're right, but it will never happen. Police forces are notorious for winking aside the horrific actions of their out-of-control members, preferring to take a 'cops will be cops" attitude than actually take steps to purge the force of lawbreakers.

      They have the guns, they have the power, and they have a cadre of other officers willing to lie and cover for them. Just another day for the boys in blue.

    John Public said:
    January 30, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    In Colorado we have a "Make My Day" law. If they enter a house in Colorado without a warrant we here in this state have the right to blow them away.

      John Q. Taxpayer said:
      January 30, 2013 at 5:23 PM

      You should ALWAYS have the right to shoot someone who enters your house illegally. A man's home is his castle.

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