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Verndale police chief cleared of wrongdoing in case where man allegedly was tased in groin

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VERNDALE, Minn. - An outside investigation has cleared Verndale Police Chief Jeff Jares' handling of a May tasing incident outside a Verndale bar.

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The suspect in the case, Brandon Clark Christensen, 23, of Browerville, Minn., filed a complaint with the Verndale City Council, challenging Jares' cause for tasing him, and saying Jares tased him in the groin resulting in an infection.

Jares was called to the bar on a report that an adult was passing alcohol to minors in the parking lot, according to police and court documents. He detected the scent of alcohol on Christensen and after field sobriety tests, told him he was under arrest for driving while intoxicated. Christensen ran away on foot and was tased. Christensen said he ran away because he feared Jares.

Christensen's blood was drawn after the May 22 incident and sent to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for testing. The results showed Christensen had a 0.08 percent blood alcohol limit, which is the legal limit for being too intoxicated to drive.

Lt. Mark Englund of the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Department conducted a review of how Jares handled the call, and compared his actions to the Professional Conduct Police and Use of Force Policy. Englund wrote he also looked at the police report and citizen complaint forms filed by Christensen.

"[Jares] had ample reason to conduct the stop," Englund wrote in his report. "The Officer had established probable cause to arrest the subject for DWI. The subject resisted arrest after being told by the Officer he was going to be arrested. He then fled from the Officer. The officer used a Taser in an attempt to effect the arrest but it was ineffective. The Officer attempted to physically subdue the resisting subject again and deployed the Taser again to gain control. Once the subject was under control, the Officer summoned medical attention (ambulance) for him. The events that occurred leading up to the arrest of this subject were dictated by the subject. The officer used the force continuum necessary to effect a lawful arrest."

Englund also wrote, "At this time I am declining to conduct an investigation into this matter."

Englund didn't address concerns about timeliness of police reports and communication skills, saying that "would be more appropriately dealt with administratively by the City of Verndale."

Verndale Mayor Ardith Carr said the investigation was over.

"The letter says our officer [Jares] followed everything according to police procedure, and there is absolutely no reason to continue an investigation," Carr said.

She said Jares acted appropriately in the case.

"Jeff did what he was supposed to do," the mayor said.

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