St. Paul Cop Sued after Teen Boy Injured

Updated: 08/23/2013 7:26 AM By: Stephen Tellier

A St. Paul police officer is under investigation and facing a lawsuit - but won't see criminal charges - for his involvement in an incident where a 15-year-old boy was injured.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS spoke with the teen and his father this week for an exclusive on-camera interview about the incident.

St. Paul police have opened an internal investigation into Officer Ronald Himes. But the Washington County Attorney's Office reviewed the case and decided not to pursue criminal charges against him, saying it boiled down to a "he said, he said" situation.

Now, the teen's family has filed a lawsuit against the officer - demanding money and an apology.

His family gave 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS pictures of 15-year-old Mica Franke's injuries, which were taken immediately after the incident on May 15. Mica sustained scrapes on his elbow and hip, as well as a visible hand print on his chest.
"I just couldn't believe it happened," Mica said.

Mica was driving a dirt bike in St. Paul Park when an off-duty police officer cut the test drive short and caused the teen to hit the pavement hard, Mica said.

"He ran out into the road and jumped in front of me pretty much, and I tried to swerve around him and he stuck his arm out and hit me," he said.

Mica identified the officer as Ronald Himes.

"He was like, 'What are you doing riding that thing?' I just told him I was taking it for a test drive," Mica said.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS attempted to contact Himes, leaving a message with a family member, but didn't receive a response. However, Himes told police a very different story.

According to Himes, Mica was driving recklessly, ignoring the rules of the road, Himes told police. Himes said he was just trying to get the teenager to slow down.

"He calls me on the phone, he's out of breath, hyper, and says, 'Somebody just knocked me off my dirt bike,'" said Mica's father Kevin Franke.

Franke admitted that his son might have been driving too fast, but Franke added that an officer should have handled things differently.

"If he is a cop, then he knows better," Franke said.

Franke expected a misdemeanor assault charge against the officer, he said. But prosecutors determined there wasn't enough evidence. He called the decision mind-boggling.

"I was livid," Franke said.

Now, the family has filed a lawsuit against Himes, which calls his conduct "clearly intentional."

"They should be held to a higher standard because they are supposed to enforce the laws," Franke said.

The Franke family is not asking for Himes to be suspended or fired. They said they just want money to replace the damaged dirt bike and to pay for Mica's medical bills.

The St. Paul Police Department declined to comment because of the open internal investigation, which is standard procedure.

In an unrelated incident, Mica was recently charged with aiding and abetting aggravated robbery.