Whitewater woman claims city, county law enforcement used 'unreasonable force'

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Jonah Beleckis
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

WHITEWATER—A Whitewater woman filed two $50,000 claims against Walworth County and the city of Whitewater, saying law enforcement used “unreasonable force” against her, according to the two notices of claim.

Ana M. Rodriguez, 45, is seeking damages for her injuries and the “violation of her civil rights” after an incident Nov. 6, when she reportedly yelled at and fought with officers before getting shot with a Taser, according to the claims and police reports.

Law enforcement subjected her to “humiliation and emotional trauma,” according to the claims. She said she “suffered physical, mental and emotional distress.”

The Whitewater City Council denied Rodriguez's claim at its Tuesday meeting. The Walworth County Board Executive Committee discussed the claim in a closed session March 20.

The attorney who drafted the claims, C. Bennett Penwell, could not be reached Wednesday to say if Rodriguez will pursue a lawsuit.

Rodriguez was charged in Walworth County Court on Jan. 9 with resisting an officer. She pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge Feb. 8, according to online court records.

At about 1:39 a.m. Nov. 6, Whitewater Police Officer Raymond Boro came across a 14-year-old girl alone at a car at the Second Salem parking lot area, 111 W. Whitewater St. Her parents were at downtown bars, according to the criminal complaint.

Rodriguez and the girl's parents returned to the car at about 2:20 a.m., according to the complaint.

Boro reported Rodriguez shouted at him and had “exaggerated hand movements.” He also reported he smelled a “strong odor” of intoxicants coming from Rodriguez's breath as she slurred her words, according to the complaint.

Boro then requested assistance. Whitewater officers Kyle Hathorn and Joe Matteson and Walworth County sheriff's Deputy Richard A. Johnson responded, according to police reports.

Rodriguez kept saying the officers were just trying to make money, Matteson reported.

At one point, Rodriguez started moving toward Boro and had to be pulled back, according to the complaint. As Johnson grabbed her arm to escort her away, he said she resisted and yelled, “Don't (expletive) touch me.”

Rodriguez continued to resist as Johnson tried to put her in the squad car, according to the complaint. Johnson said Rodriguez kicked him before she removed her left wrist from handcuffs, got out of the car and raised her arms with clenched fists.

This is when Johnson shot Rodriguez with a Taser, according to the complaint. She was taken to Lakeland Medical Center where she refused any treatment.

Part of Rodriguez's claim asked for reimbursement for $200 in medical costs.

Rodriguez lists Johnson, Boro and Matteson in the claims.

Rodriguez is scheduled for a final pretrial court appearance at 10 a.m. June 20. A jury trial for the resisting an officer charge is scheduled the following week on June 29 and 30.

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