Verndale chief cleared in tasing case
An outside investigation vindicated Verndale Police Chief Jeff Jares' handling of a tasing incident outside a Verndale bar.
The suspect in the case, Brandon Clark Christensen, 23, of Browerville, filed a complaint with the Verndale City Council, challenging Jares' cause for tasing him, and saying Jares tased him in the groin leading to an infection.
Jares was originally called to the bar on a report that an adult was passing alcohol to minors in the parking lot, according to police and court documents. He detected the scent of alcohol on Christensen and after field sobriety tests, told him he was under arrest for driving while intoxicated. Christensen ran away on foot -- he said he ran toward the bar because he feared Jares -- and was tased.
Christensen's blood was drawn after the May 22 incident and sent to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for testing. On June 17, the result came back, and was allegedly .08, right at the limit for being too intoxicated to drive.
Lt. Mark Englund of the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Department conducted a review of how Jares handled the call, and compared his actions to the Professional Conduct Police and Use of Force Policy. Englund wrote he also looked at the police report and citizen complaint forms filed by Christensen.
"[Jares] had ample reason to conduct the stop," Englund wrote in his report. "The Officer had established probable cause to arrest the subject for DWI. The subject resisted arrest after being told by the Officer he was going to be arrested. He then fled from the Officer. The officer used a Taser in an attempt to effect the arrest but it was ineffective. The Officer attempted to physically subdue the resisting subject again and deployed the Taser again to gain control. Once the subject was under control, the Officer summoned medical attention (ambulance) for him. The events that occurred leading up to the arrest of this subject were dictated by the subject. The officer used the force continuum necessary to effect a lawful arrest."
Englund also wrote, "At this time I am declining to conduct an investigation into this matter."
Englund didn't address concerns about timeliness of police reports and communication skills, saying that "would be more appropriately dealt with administratively by the City of Verndale."
Mayor Ardith Carr said the investigation was over.
"The letter says our officer [Jares] followed everything according to police procedure, and there is absolutely no reason to continue an investigation," Carr said.
She said Jares acted appropriately in the case.
"Jeff did what he was supposed to do," the mayor said.
Jares made no comment about the case or the subsequent investigation, other than to ask the mayor, "It's my understanding that this is a done deal?"
"Yes," Carr replied.
Jares asked the council and the audience if anyone else had anything to say on the matter. No one did.