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Lawsuit alleging excessive force by Minot police officers settled out of court for $90,000

A civil suit by Jayson William Valery Paske in federal court against two police officers, the Minot Police Department, and the City of Minot has been settled out of court for $90,000. Paske had claimed Minot police officers Jay Bloyer and Kevin Cory used excessive force when they arrested him following a traffic stop on June 20, 2019.

None of the defendants, including police officers Bloyer and Cory, admitted to any wrong doing. All of the parties agreed to settle the case to avoid the cost and uncertainty of a trial. The $90,000 was to be paid out to Paske by the North Dakota Insurance Reserve Fund.

According to court documents, Paske, 26, sustained multiple facial fractures and required hospitalization following his encounter with the officers. Paske claimed that Bloyer and Cory became angry and used excessive force in removing Paske from his vehicle when Paske recorded the incident with his cell phone, asked Bloyer for his badge number, asked the officers to clarify why he was being asked to leave the vehicle, and told the officers he felt threatened. According to Paske’s attorney, the conversation with Bloyer lasted one minute and 47 seconds.

Paske claimed that he had rolled down his window and unlocked the door to his vehicle but Bloyer and Cory “lunged at him” and grabbed him just two seconds later, not giving him time to unbuckle his seat belt or get out of the vehicle. Paske was still wearing his seat belt and was holding his cell phone in his right hand and his vaporizer in his left. Bloyer and Cory grabbed Paske on either side of his torso and pulled at his shoulder and neck area. Paske alleged that Cory, who was holding his flashlight in his right hand, began beating Paske in the face up to 10 times with his hand and the butt of his flashlight before the officers got Paske untangled from his seat belt and out of the car. At that point, Paske claimed, he was panicked and kicked and flailed after Bloyer and Cory “applied the force of their entire body weights” to Paske’s torso, head, and shoulder area and Paske started choking on his own blood while the officers handcuffed, hobbled, and placed a spit hood on him Paske further alleged that Bloyer and Cory made fun of him while Paske was strapped down on a hospital gurney and joked that they “would have (expletive) shot” Paske if they needed to.

The officers gave a different version of events in a police affidavit filed with the court. According to Bloyer, they stopped Paske on 4th Street NW on suspicion that he was driving under the influence. Bloyer wrote that Paske had only slightly rolled down his window and that Paske was smoking a cigarette. Bloyer wrote that Paske had watery, blood shot eyes and was slurring his speech. Bloyer wrote that Paske fumbled when he handed over his license, registration, and proof of insurance and his insurance card was expired. Bloyer went back to Paske’s vehicle and ordered Paske to get out and told him he was going to conduct a DUI investigation. Bloyer writes in the affidavit that Paske argued with the officers “for several minutes” and refused to get out of the vehicle and had eventually unlocked the door, “apparently accidentally.” Bloyer opened the door of the vehicle and Paske turned away. Bloyer wrote that he believed Paske might assault him or might be trying to flee. At that point, Bloyer grabbed Paske by the coat collar with his right hand and grabbed Paske’s left arm with his left hand and tried to pull him out of the car. Bloyer wrote that Paske “was flailing, twisting, and kicking, while trying to pull away” from the officers and they used the hobble and a spit hood to keep Paske from kicking the officers and spitting blood at them.

Paske later pleaded guilty to Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct on Sept. 25, 2019 in district court in Minot and was sentenced to 360 days unsupervised probation and ordered to pay a $750 fine.

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