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Lawsuit filed against Kenyon police chief, trooper

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A lawsuit was filed in United States District Court last month against Kenyon Police Chief Lee Sjolander and Minnesota State Highway Patrol Officer Troy Siems alleging civil rights violations.

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Richard Thissen, who owned an insurance agency in Kenyon, and his attorneys filed the complaint June 14.

In it, Thissen alleges that both Sjolander and Siems used "excessive force" while taking him into custody on two separate occasions, depriving Thissen of his civil rights outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

According to the complaint, Sjolander arrested Thissen in June 2009 for violation of a harassment restraining order that the Kenyon Police Department had obtained against him. Sjolander "slammed (Thissen) into a wall, hit him forcefully in the face with his elbow causing his nose to bleed," the complaint says.

The violation of a restraining order charge against Thissen was eventually dismissed.

Siems then arrested Thissen in November 2009 for possible DWI. The complaint continues, saying that Siems "hit (Thissen) forcefully in the chest, tackled him to the ground and knocked out two of his teeth," causing Thissen to lose consciousness.

The complaint also alleges conspiracy by Sjolander and Siems to violate Thiessen's civil rights.

In all, the complaint outlines two counts of civil rights violations and one count of conspiracy to violate civil rights.

Thissen is asking for an amount exceeding $75,000 for "mental anguish, pain and suffering and humiliation," attorneys' fees and other damages.

Jon Iverson, of Iverson Reuvers, will represent Sjolander. He said his office has until July 31 to file a response to the complaint.

"We are going to be filing our aggressive response by the end of this month and are confident that the claims will be dismissed by the federal court as early as possible," Iverson said.

Siems will be represented by the Minnesota Attorney General's Office.

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