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Man sues four Treasure Valley law enforcement agencies for excessive force

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Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com

Man sues four Treasure Valley law enforcement agencies for excessive force

By Karen Lehr. CREATED Nov 3, 2013

A Boise man is suing four Treasure Valley law enforcement agencies for what he says was excessive force during a 2011 traffic stop.

While driving home after Christmas celebrations with family in Boise, Lee Rice used his turn signal to switch lanes in order to move out of the path of a vehicle behind him. Twice.

He says the car followed him for three miles with its high beams on. “I thought it was some crazy person behind me,” Rice said.

It wasn’t until he saw the red and blue flashing lights that Rice realized the car behind him was an Idaho State Police officer and pulled over.

“At that point I know what my rights are, so basically it was about telling her what my name was and that’s all that was required, lawfully,” Rice said.

Rice says he just wanted to know why he was being pulled over in the first place and at first the officer wouldn’t tell them her name.

Audio from the traffic stop can be heard in the dashboard camera video from the officer’s car.

Rice: “I am not required to do anything…”

Officer: “Hand me your license, registration and insurance.”

Rice: “I will not ma’am.”

Officer: “Sir, hand me your…”

Rice: “My name is Lee Rice.”

Officer: “Okay, Mr. Rice…”

Rice: “My name is Lee Rice, that’s all I need to do at the moment.”

Officer: “Okay, well consider yourself under arrest for resisting and obstruction, okay?”

The officer called for backup and 18 cops from four different agencies arrived at the scene.

Officer: “Sir, step back or I’m going to… I’m about to bust your window and I really don’t want to do that with your children.”

Rice: “Ma’am that is unnecessary.”

In the video, you can hear Rice requesting to speak with the officer’s supervisor several times before being pulled out of his car.

“Next thing you know, a guy actually puts his foot out to throw me to the ground,” Rice said. “I’m just yelling, ‘What are you guys doing?’”

Rice is still feeling effects from that day two years ago. He says he now walks with a limp he never had before the incident, and constantly battles pain in his hip and back.

Rice and his two daughters, who were in the car at the time of the traffic stop, still feel uneasy every time they see law enforcement officers.

Rice says he was assaulted, yet again, once he was taken to jail. He wanted to remain standing due to his injuries from the traffic stop, and claims officers beat him when he didn’t want to sit down.

He filed a federal lawsuit against Ada County, Boise, Meridian and Idaho State Police in October claiming police brutality and excessive force.

He hopes to receive damages to help with medical costs to treat injuries obtained during the incident. He wants his case to be used in the future to teach law enforcement officers to handle situations like this in the future.

No court date has been set.