‘Sheridan (Mont.) Gazette’ Settles Police Agreements Lawsuit

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The Sheridan Press has settled a lawsuit it filed to learn the details of how three police officers were disciplined for their roles in pulling over Mayor Dave Kinskey on an unwarranted DUI stop.

Under the settlement terms, Lt. Chris Dahmke, patrol officer James Arzy and detective Christopher Cook agreed to provide the newspaper with copies of their discipline agreements with the Police Department and to hold a news conference within seven days of Tuesday’s settlement.

“We’re pleased this matter has been resolved and look forward to receiving the agreements that the officers made with the city,” said Patrick Murphy, the newspaper’s managing editor.

Bruce Moats, an attorney for the Sheridan Press, said the settlement was a “big victory for the public.”

“It will be good for the community to have this out and try to work to go beyond this. It’s hard for the public to accept when they don’t know the outcome,” he said.

On July 9, 2005, Cook called the Sheridan Police Department to report that he’d seen Kinskey drinking at a party at the Holiday Inn and that Kinskey had stumbled on his way to the car before driving away from the event. Dahmke took the calls, and Arzy pulled Kinskey over.

Kinskey passed field-sobriety tests and insisted on having blood drawn to prove that he wasn’t intoxicated. His blood-alcohol level was 0.02 percent, well below the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

An independent investigation commissioned by the City Council found that the officers violated numerous department policies and procedures. Cook was fired on the recommendation of the Sheridan Police Commission; he has said he would appeal that decision.

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