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Lawsuit against deputies ends in $142,000 settlement for excessive force

WAHPETON -- A lawsuit claiming two Richland County deputies used excessive force in a 2011 traffic stop has been settled with a $142,500 payout. Christopher Miranowski, Adam Nelson and Derek Grund claimed in the federal lawsuit filed in 2012 that...

WAHPETON -- A lawsuit claiming two Richland County deputies used excessive force in a 2011 traffic stop has been settled with a $142,500 payout.

Christopher Miranowski, Adam Nelson and Derek Grund claimed in the federal lawsuit filed in 2012 that they were cursed at, threatened and roughed up by Deputies Dan Wise and Steve Gjerdevig during a late-night traffic stop on County Road 22 near Abercrombie on Aug. 28, 2011.

The North Dakota State Insurance Reserve Fund is paying the settlement, with $112,500 going to Miranowski, nearly $36,000 of it for medical bills.

Miranowski claimed his back was injured when Gjerdevig put his knee into his back during the traffic stop. He said in a memo filed in the case that the incident "totally changed his life from that of a vibrant healthy young man to one who is greatly debilitated and has suffered thousands in medical bills."

Grund and Nelson each received $15,000 in the settlement, according to settlement documents. The deputies were on high alert because Nelson had speeded up and turned a corner before stopping the pickup, and when he did, the men "immediately opened the door and got out of the vehicle, argued with the officers about who was driving, and possessed marijuana on their person," their attorney claimed in an earlier filing in the case.

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Charges in the traffic stop were ultimately dismissed.

Officials for the state insurance reserve fund and attorneys for both sides declined comment on the case.

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