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Excessive force case pending

Dylan Riley, Appeal Staff Writer

Douglas County sheriff and two deputies embroiled in a lawsuit claiming police brutality could be interviewed by their accuser’s attorney next month.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court involves a videotaped beating of a suspect in April 2001.

The lawsuit names deputies Anthony Elgis and Dan Coverly and Sheriff Ron Pierini as defendants.

The tape allegedly shows the arrest of a Gardnerville man, who was choked by officers while handcuffed, struck repeatedly, and had his head slammed onto the trunk lid of a police car, according to the complaint.

Video footage of the abuse was obtained by CNN and aired before the case was filed.

Gene T. Jordan, 27, was arrested April 10, 2001, for eluding police officers and suspicion of driving under the influence, open container and no proof of insurance.

Jordan also had a fugitive warrant issued for his arrest at the time of the incident.

Andy Boles, Jordan’s attorney, said the officers involved haven’t been reprimanded.

“This incident happened about two years ago, and the tape which shows the officers using excessive force speaks for itself,” Boles said.

“But it’s our understanding that no one has been disciplined for this use of force and we don’t know why.”

The complaint alleges that when the conduct of Coverly and Elges was made known to Pierini, his response “was to rationalize and conceal the misconduct from the public.”

When asked to comment, said he couldn’t remember “back that far” and referred the matter to Lt. Paul Howell of Internal Affairs, who was hesitant to speculate.

“The matter is in litigation. We did conduct an internal affairs investigation,” Howell said. “We are aware of the matter and have been since it came to light.”

Howell would not discuss the results of the Internal Affairs discussion because of the pending litigation.