Catrina Engle sues city of Mission, police officers in federal court over post office arrest

Even before Catrina Engle was acquitted of interfering with a police officer and disorderly conduct last week, she had taken steps to sue the city of Mission over the same incident.

Catrina Engle, show being handcuffed in video of the incident that prompted her legal action against the city of Mission.
Catrina Engle, show being handcuffed in video of the incident that prompted her legal action against the city of Mission.

Her filing in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., names not only the city as a defendant, but also Mission police officers Michelle Pierce and Timothy Gift and Mission Police Chief John Simmons. She is asking for $1.75 million for compensatory damages and $1.75 million for punitive damages.

Engle filed suit against the city on Nov. 12, almost a week before her trial began in Johnson County District Court. The suit, which she filed without an attorney, was reportedly put in to beat a deadline based on the events of March 16.

The charges stem from an incident at the Mission post office on Broadmoor that became widely publicized through a YouTube video that showed her being handcuffed by officers and taken to the ground.

In her filing, Engle claims that Pierce arrested her, threw her to the ground, searched her purse, performed a cavity search and took her driver’s license without “warrant, consent or exigent circumstances.” The suit says Engle’s children, who were present at the incident were emotionally injured by the events. The actions constitute a number of violations of her rights under the Constitution, she claims. Gift also was present at the post office that day and aided in the arrest and investigation.

Engle was originally found guilty on both charges by Mission city Judge Keith Drill in August. She appealed the conviction and a six-member jury heard the case in district court last week. When the city rested its case, Judge Sara Welch granted a defense motion for acquittal on the charge of interfering with a police officer. She let the jury continue to hear the disorderly conduct charge. After 75 minutes of deliberation, the jury found Engle not guilty on that charge as well.

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