Valley Falls police chief named in 2 civil rights cases

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two federal lawsuits alleging violations of civil rights have been filed against Valley Falls Police Chief Bronson Campbell.

The Topeka Capital Journal reported ( ) on Monday that the lawsuit filed by Jamie Petitt alleges Campbell harassed her and that the council backed his actions.

Petitt complained to the city last November that the police chief made false statements and harassed her.

The council determined in January that the complaint was unfounded and forwarded the matter to the Jefferson County attorney’s office for review. An arrest warrant was subsequently issued accusing Petitt of interference with law enforcement for falsely reporting information, a case the court later dismissed.

Petitt sued alleging Campbell acted with reckless disregard for her due process rights.

A second lawsuit filed by Clayton Conser alleges his rights were violated in June 2015 when Campbell used a stun gun on him. Conser claims Campbell illegally arrested him and used excessive force.

The lawsuit says Campbell didn’t initially disclose his identity as a law enforcement officer and didn’t have cause to arrest Conser. The charges against Conser were dropped.

Campbell told the newspaper he couldn’t comment on the pending litigation, but said he doesn’t think he’s ever used excessive force.

Prince Adebayo Ogunmeno, who is representing Conser and Petitt in the lawsuits, said he believes Campbell is violating people’s civil rights and that he and the city officials are aware of the issues and need to be held responsible.

Petitt’s case names not only Campbell but also the city of Valley Falls and several officials.

Valley Falls Mayor Charles Stutesman told the newspaper that he and the city council unanimously voted to reappoint Campbell as chief in May.

“He has the support of me and the council,” Stutesman said.

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