Man sues Sioux City Police over 2019 high-speed pursuit

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – A Sioux City man has filed a lawsuit against the Sioux City Police Department, claiming that his rights were violated after an officer used a PIT maneuver on him to stop a high-speed pursuit in 2019.

According to court documents, Dean Christiansen filed a suit against Officer Christopher Eral for violating his “established constitutional right by utilizing excessive force.”

He’s also suing Police Chief Rex Mueller for failing to “maintain and/or enforce official policies, patterns, practices, or customs prohibiting law enforcement officers from utilizing police vehicles to intentionally collide with vehicles at high speeds and under dangerous circumstances to seize occupants of those vehicles.”

The lawsuit stems from an incident in which Christiansen left VIP Gaming Casino in North Sioux City in his truck on June 2, 2019. Officials said around 1:47 a.m., North Sioux Police Officer Andrew Ryan tried to pull Christiansen over mechanical issues with his truck, but he didn’t stop, leading to a high-speed pursuit.

Court documents said Officer Ryan dispatched Sioux City Police, including Officer Eral, saying the pursuit was due to suspicion of an OWI. The pursuit crossed into Sioux City.

Officer Eral entered the pursuit as Christiansen turned east on 5th Street. He claimed that Christiansen failed to stop at stop signs and lights, and drove in the opposite lane of traffic, reaching 80 to 90 miles per hour during the last part of the pursuit.

Officials reported that Officer Eral then used the PIT maneuver on Christiansen, striking his truck, causing it to spin off the road, into a ditch, and collide with a light pole. As a result, Christiansen suffered chest, knee, and hip injuries.

The lawsuit said that Officer Eral’s actions were an “outrageous utilization of physical force” and were “unlawful and in gross disregard of Dean (Christiansen)’s civil rights.”

Christiansen is seeking compensation for physical, mental, and emotional injuries and damages, as well as interests and costs, as allowed by law.

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