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Archive for Sunday, October 1, 2000

Briefs

October 1, 2000

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Wichita

Complaint alleges abuse by trooper

A complaint lodged with the Kansas Highway Patrol alleges that a trooper struck a woman and used excessive force during a traffic stop.

The patrol is awaiting a written complaint before it begins its investigation.

Shelley Fields, 32, of Wichita, made a telephoned complaint after a trooper stopped her Monday on Kansas Highway 15.

Two witnesses and Fields said the trooper, Carl Thomas Flanagan, grabbed Fields in a choke hold and slammed her to the ground. They also said he punched her in the right thigh while she was handcuffed and in his patrol car.

A spokesman for the highway patrol, 2nd Lt. John Eichkorn, confirmed that Fields had called to complain.

An internal investigation will start after the patrol receives Fields' written complaint, which the patrol has requested, Eichkorn said.

Fields said Friday that she received the complaint form Thursday.

San Francisco

Judge reduces bakery damages

A judge said Friday he will reduce the $121 million in punitive damages that a jury awarded to 17 black workers who were discriminated against at a Wonder Bread plant.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Stuart R. Pollak said the punishment against Interstate Bakeries Corp., the nation's largest bread wholesaler, did not fit the crime.

"I'm not at all persuaded that anything like $121 million is necessary to make the point that the jury was trying to make here ... to deter such conduct in the future," Pollak said from the bench during a three-hour hearing.

Pollak did not say what he would reduce the damages to or when he would make that decision.

The bakery, based in Kansas City, Mo., produces Wonder Bread, Twinkies, Home Pride bread and Hostess Cupcakes.

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