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DCI officer denies false imprisonment claims from 2015 standoff

A South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation agent being sued denies claims that he and other officers illegally detained the mother of a man who shot a Highway Patrol trooper.

Donald London is escorted out of the Brule County Jail over to the Brule County Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon in Chamberlain. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Donald London is escorted out of the Brule County Jail in 2015 (Republic file photo)

A South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation agent being sued denies claims that he and other officers illegally detained the mother of a man who shot a Highway Patrol trooper.

Various police officers and law enforcement agencies were named in a lawsuit filed earlier this month by Bonnie London, of Kimball. London alleges the officers detained her without reason while she was trying to get medical help for her son, Donald London, who later that day engaged officers in a 24-hour standoff and shot a Highway Patrol officer.

As a result, Bonnie is suing Brule and Buffalo Counties, Buffalo County Sheriff Wayne Willman, Brule County Deputy Tory Engel, DCI agent Brandon Neitzert and various other law enforcement officers, identified in court documents as "John Does."

This week, Neitzert filed a response to the lawsuit, denying Bonnie's claims.

Neitzert claims that Bonnie's lawsuit does not identify wrongful actions by Neitzert and that he is protected by the doctrine of qualified immunity, which protects government officials from liability if their conduct does not violate clearly established constitutional rights. He asked the court to dismiss charges against him.

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In the lawsuit, Bonnie London said on the January 2015 day her son was involved in the standoff, she was at a residence speaking to Donald, and when she attempted to leave to get medical assistance for him, officers stopped her and told other officers and people on scene to not let her leave.

Bonnie said she was attempting to get mental health assistance for Donald, who was diagnosed with multiple mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, substance-abuse disorders and psychosis, after the suicide of his wife in 2012.

While she was detained, Bonnie said her cellphone, keys and jacket were taken from her and she was "humiliated" when she was forced to urinate in the cold outside of the vehicle, in the presence of an officer.

Charges against the officers include unreasonable search and seizure, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Bonnie requests a jury trial on the matter.

London was sentenced in March to 20 years in prison for the incident.

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