[Hpn] Police chief won't face EXCESSIVE FORCE charges, prosecutor decides fw decides fw

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sun, 3 Dec 2000 06:28:21 -0800 (PST)

A police chief, accused of throwing a homeless woman to the ground
during an arrest, will _not_ be charged with using "excessive force":

FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Nov 29, 2000


WAGNER, S.D. (AP) _ A county prosecutor has decided against
charging Wagner's police chief with excessive force in the October
arrest of an American Indian woman.

``No further action will be taken, and I have closed the case,''
Charles Mix County State's Attorney Scott Podhradsky said Tuesday.

In a complaint filed with Bureau of Indian Affairs, Larry
Weddell Jr. accused Police Chief Ed Zylstra of using excessive
force in arresting Sharon K. Gullikson. Weddell said he watched the

Podhradsky said he based his decision on a Division of Criminal
Investigation report in which Gullikson and Zylstra similarly
described what happened, Podhradsky said.

``Her story and his story are about identical, but no complaint
has ever been filed by Sharon,'' the state's attorney said.

The DCI report showed that Zylstra responded to an 11 a.m. call
on Oct. 19 at the Wagner Food Center where Gullikson reportedly was
creating a disturbance.

Zylstra responded to another call around 5 p.m. when Gullikson
reportedly was asking customers for money.

Gullikson, who describes herself as homeless, said she had been
drinking wine and vodka.

According to the DCI report, Zylstra saw Gullikson walking on
Main Street and went to talk to her.

``Ed saw her, honked his horn, and started walking toward her
with no intention to arrest her at that time,'' Podhradsky said.

''(Zylstra) put his left hand on her left arm because she was
not stopping. She started yelling obscenities, so he said he was
placing her under arrest for disorderly conduct.''

Weddell said in his complaint that Gullikson had been thrown to
the ground.

But when he was asked by the DCI, Weddell said he looked away,
and then saw them on the ground where the police chief was
handcuffing her, said Podhradsky.

``(Weddell) doesn't ever say he saw her thrown to the ground,''
the state's attorney said.

Instead, as Zylstra walked with Gullikson to the curb, she
stepped back, scraping Zylstra's shin and stepping on his foot,
said Podhradsky. Zylstra fell and Gullikson was pulled down with

Zylstra then grabbed Gullikson by the back of her neck, pushed
her face down on her stomach, and handcuffed her behind the back.

Podhradsky said he considered Zylstra's action as appropriate
standard action for the situation.

``I am making the decision, looking at the report that I have,
that I do not see excessive use of force and any evidence that she
was thrown to the ground.

``I believe they tumbled to the ground, and (Zylstra) used
reasonable force,'' Podhradsky said.

AP-WS-11-29-00 1132EST
Received  Id AP1003349BD135BB on Nov 30 2000 20:52


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