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Judge dismisses civil rights suit against police

| December 4, 2010 8:00 PM

Wilson claimed he was falsely imprisoned after drunken driving arrest

COEUR d'ALENE - A federal judge dismissed a suit claiming a Coeur d'Alene man's civil rights were violated following a drunken driving arrest that was later dropped.

United States District Judge Edward Lodge ruled that Larry J. Wilson's rights had not been violated nor had he been falsely imprisoned following Wilson's July 4, 2007, arrest.

The suit, filed Aug. 7, 2009, listed the city of Coeur d'Alene, Police Chief Wayne Longo and officers Wendy Carpenter and Alan Winstead.

The officers had arrested Wilson, then 66, for suspected drunken driving as he made an illegal left turn and failing to use a turn signal as he was leaving the Corner Bar around 10:30 that night. Wilson was described by officers as having "blood shot" and "glassy" eyes.

Wilson told officers he was on medication and that he had consumed a small amount of alcohol. He failed a field sobriety test but later blew 0.000 in a breath test. A first test said Wilson was under the influence of depressants/narcotics. Another test concluded he was not under the influence of drugs either.

While waiting for the results, Wilson was booked in jail under driving under the influence charges.

The charges were later dropped.

In Lodge's Nov. 19 ruling on the summary judgment, the court said the officers had sufficient probable cause for making the arrest given the officers' observations at the scene, and that "no genuine material facts" supported a claim for unlawful prosecution.