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Rochester police officer sued for excessive force

A federal civil rights lawsuit against a Rochester Police Department officer alleges the officer severely beat an intoxicated man in a Rochester bar parking lot in 2016. The officer denied the claims in a court filing.

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MINNEAPOLIS — A Rochester police officer is facing a federal lawsuit in the District of Minnesota for allegedly violating the civil rights of a Rochester man he arrested in 2016.

Rochester police officer Craig Sammon is alleged to have struck Todd A. McIntyre with a flashlight or a baton between 85 to 90 times in the head following a disorderly call May 28, 2016, at Legends Bar & Grill.

McIntyre has suffered from pain related to the beating and continues to have nightmares about the incident, according to the lawsuit. He is seeking a $75,000 judgment against Sammons.

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McIntyre became loud after consuming alcohol at Legends in May 2016 and was escorted out by Legend's employees where Sammon then arrested McIntyre for disorderly conduct.

McIntyre contends in a May 2022 filing in federal court that no resistance was given before Sammon slammed a handcuffed McIntyre to the ground, sat on his back and beat him on the back and sides of his head dozens of times with a flashlight or a baton. McIntyre's lawsuit also states that Sammon grabbed McIntyre by the head and slammed his face into a parking lot surface multiple times.

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"Sammon's actions, as described, were not objectively reasonable and constituted the use of excessive force," reads part of complaint filed by McIntyre.

Sammon denies the allegations and stated video camera footage at the time shows McIntyre resisting arrest, according to Sammon's response filing. Sammon also states that McIntyre spit on Sammon.

"Once the discovery phase of this lawsuit is complete, we plan to file a Motion for Summary Judgment which we believe will be granted and will result in a dismissal of this case," Jason M. Hiveley, Sammon's lawyer, wrote in an email to the Post Bulletin.

In a separate incident, Sammon was disciplined by RPD for a 2021 incident where he used excessive force against a veteran suffering from severe PTSD at the Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys. Sammons is still employed with the RPD.

McIntyre lawsuit claims he suffered a brain injury and a broken nose from the incident and he was transported to Mayo Clinic Hospital-Saint Marys for these injuries. McIntyre was released the next day from the hospital.

Sammon is also accused of intimidating McIntyre and his wife on two separate occasion, according to the lawsuit.

"They feared for their lives, thinking that Sammon would return again without warning to harm them. He obviously realized the force he had used was objectively unreasonable and was using intimidation to scare and frighten the McIntyres to silence them, to deter them from doing anything about the incident," reads part of McIntyre's court filing.

Sammon denied these allegations in his court filing.

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McIntyre's wife, Stacey McIntyre, made a formal complaint with RPD about Sammons excessive use of force but was told by a department lawyer that Sammon's conduct was proper and reasonable, according to the lawsuit.

"When advised there was a female eyewitness to the beating, a City of Rochester official stated 'we will bury (her),'" reads part of the lawsuit.

A pretrial hearing was held in September 2022 and a jury trial date has been preemptively scheduled for Jan. 2, 2024.

A request to RPD for more information about Sammon's time with the department and a request for comment about the case has not been fulfilled yet.

McIntyre's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the case.

Mark Wasson has been a public safety reporter with Post Bulletin since May 2022. Previously, he worked as a general assignment reporter in the southwest metro and as a public safety reporter in Willmar, Minn. Readers can reach Mark at mwasson@postbulletin.com.
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