Lawrence police officer named in excessive force lawsuit no longer employed by the department

A Lawrence police officer accused of using excessive force during the arrest of a local firefighter no longer works for the department, the city says.

Tuesday was the last day of work for Lawrence Police Officer Frank McClelland, who is listed among the defendants in an excessive use of force lawsuit filed against the city, said Assistant City Manager Diane Stoddard. He began working for the department on April 5, 2010.

His last day coincided with the publication of a Journal-World story detailing the claims in the lawsuit.

According to City of Lawrence salary data from 2014, McClelland grossed a total of $68,684 for the year.

McClelland, Lawrence Police Sgt. Craig Shanks, Officer Timothy Froese and the City of Lawrence are currently being sued by Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Lt. Miguel Armenta.

Shanks and Froese are still employed with the city, Stoddard said. She declined to clarify whether McClelland resigned or was fired.

In his lawsuit, which is scheduled to go to trial in September, Armenta claims his arrest involved police brutality and resulted in a broken arm.

According to testimony filed in Douglas County District Court, witnesses say one officer rammed another man’s head against a squad car, denting the vehicle. A number of officers then “manhandled” and “beat” Armenta before they arrested him, witnesses said.

The entire incident took place outside Lawrence’s Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall, 1801 Massachusetts St.

Armenta’s lawsuit claims the defendants used excessive force, were negligent in their use of force and it faults Shanks for supervisory liability. Armenta is seeking $225,000 in compensation for his injuries.

Lawrence City Attorney Toni Wheeler declined to comment on the ongoing litigation, but denied Armenta’s claims in court filings, saying officers acted “within the scope of their employment.”

Armenta also declined to comment on the lawsuit.

In a criminal trial, held in February 2015, Armenta was found guilty of interfering with his own arrest, a misdemeanor. He was, however, also acquitted of two other misdemeanor charges of interfering with law enforcement.

In his civil lawsuit, which was filed before his criminal trial, Armenta argues police had no reason to arrest him in the first place.

A jury trial for Armenta’s civil lawsuit is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Sept. 12.