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Lawsuit Filed Against Blooming Prairie Police Chief and Steele County Deputy Sheriff

Posted at: 11/06/2013 9:20 PM
Updated at: 11/07/2013 10:01 AM

MGN Online
MGN Online

(ABC 6 News) --    A federal judge issued an extension yesterday to allow Blooming Prairie's Chief of Police and a Steele County Deputy Sheriff, not a Dodge County Deputy as previously reported, time to respond to a lawsuit filed against them last month.

A Blooming Prairie family is accusing Chief Paul Wayne and Deputy Sheriff Greg Skillstad of false imprisonment, home invasion, and defamation.

It started with a disagreement over a car Valanchie Garcia purchased on ebay.  Garcia says the vehicle was not as described, and tried to reach an agreement over returning the vehicle.  The two agreed that Garcia would fix the car, and split the funds after selling it.  The seller in New Jersey then reported it stolen.  New Jersey Police then contacted Blooming Prairie police.

The lawsuit claims that in April, Chief Wayne and Deputy Skillstad forced their way into the family's home without a warrant.  It alleges that Chief Wayne pinned the man to the wall and berated him in front of his children.

Court documents say Garcia was told he would not be arrested if he paid $3,500 to the seller, which the family says they did not have.  Garcia says police then seized the vehicle, keys and title.

The suit claims that Chief Wayne returned several days later saying Garcia needed to pay $2,500 or go to jail.  Garcia's wife Ashly says she gave a check to police for $2,000.  She claims Chief Wayne told her "Here, I'll give this back to you and put handcuffs on you and take you to jail right now.  Is that what you want?  Would that make you happier?"

The lawsuit says Wayne then called the seller to tell him he got the money.  The wife says Chief Wayne told her no report was filed, and returned the keys, vehicle and title.  The Garcia family is seeking $930,000 plus damages and legal fees.  No trial date has been set.

We reached out to Blooming Prairie and Steele County, but have not heard back.

You can read the full complaint here.