City and County settle West Central Drug Task Force claim

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (NEWS RELEASE) - A settlement has been reached in a civil lawsuit involving actions of the West Central Wisconsin Drug Task Force on February 24, 2009. By agreeing to the settlement, there was no admission of fault or liability on behalf of the City or County and any named individuals.

Gary and Lorraine Bergh’s house was entered by several officers in order to arrest their grandson, Ryan Erickson, who is a convicted drug felon. Mr. Erickson barricaded himself in a bedroom with access to a weapon and refused to give himself up. Allegations of the lawsuit include excessive force, unlawful detention, unlawful entry, bodily injury and property damage. During the tactical operation, the Bergh’s were removed from the residence for their own safety. A federal judge ruled the sheriff and the drug task force violated the Bergh’s rights when they had them sit in a squad car during the tactical operation. According to Sheriff Ron Cramer, “We believe the ruling was in error and the entire operation was conducted consistent with accepted law enforcement practices.” The current settlement eliminates the risk of further legal exposure including payment of the Bergh’s attorney fees which may have resulted from a trial.

The West Central Wisconsin Drug Task Force is a multi-jurisdictional drug unit. The unit works active drug investigations and is a successful regional collaboration of resources. The Drug Task Force is proven to be very effective in disrupting or dismantling drug trafficking organizations.

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