Tahlequah Daily Press

October 15, 2012

Several dismissed in federal complaint

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Several defendants listed in a federal complaint against local law enforcement officials have been dismissed without prejudice, court documents show.

Marcos Ibarra filed the petition in federal court earlier this year against the city of Tahlequah; Cherokee County Governmental Building Authority; Tahlequah Police Chief Clay Mahaney; County Sheriff Norman Fisher; Cherokee County Detention Center Administrator Loyd Bickel; Tahlequah officers Jason Girdner, Joshua Girdner and Antonio Aguilar; and several other unidentified defendants.

Police reportedly responded to a shots-fired call in December 2011 and arrested Ibarra.

Ibarra claims police used excessive force against him and that authorities violated several of his constitutional rights afterward. Defendants who were present at the scene refute Ibarra’s story and said they had probable cause to arrest him. Defendants also argue Ibarra’s subsequent processing at CCDC was proper.

Attorneys for Ibarra and the defendants stipulated recently to the dismissal without prejudice of Ibarra’s claims against the CCGBA, Fisher, and Bickel. They later agreed to the dismissal without prejudice of Joshua Girdner, who said in court documents he wasn’t at the scene when Ibarra was arrested last year.

The dismissals came days after both parties met for a settlement conference in front of Magistrate Judge Steven P. Shreder in federal court, but were unable to reach a settlement agreement.

Ibarra has also asked the court to allow an amendment to his complaint to identify some of the previously unnamed defendants.

Ibarra’s attorney says evidence uncovered during discovery revealed Skylar Green, Brandon Vick and William Metcalf were “acting under color of law as police officers” for Tahlequah and were at the scene when Ibarra was arrested.

Court documents indicate defense counsel doesn’t object to Ibarra’s request for amending the petition.

Ibarra was charged in district court after his arrest with misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct with a firearm and obstructing an officer. He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to appear in Cherokee County District court Nov. 29, after a continuance was granted last Thursday.

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