Police officer wins suit against college student

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A college student from Cloquet will have to pay $245,000 in damages to a police officer he attacked during a 1996 Halloween party.
Derek Holznagel, 20, broke bones around Todd Lappegaard’s eye. Holznagel previously pleaded guilty to assaulting Lappegaard.
“The message is: You can’t do this. You can’t go after police,” said Lappegaard’s attorney, Charles Hvass Jr., after Tuesday’s decision by a Hennepin County District Court jury.
Lappegaard and another officer were responding to a complaint about a loud party near midnight Oct. 27, 1996, when they found about 100 people drinking in the basement of an apartment building.
When the officers tried to find out who was in charge of the party, Lappegaard was punched in the face and pushed against a wall. Holznagel was then punched and sprayed with a chemical irritant before being handcuffed and arrested.
Hvass said his client first sued Holznagel, then Holznagel sued the two officers and the city, alleging police brutality.
A civil trial lasted a week, and the jury deliberated about six hours. The award to Lappegaard includes $50,000 for past pain and suffering, $20,800 for medical bills and about $175,000 for future pain and suffering.
Hvass said Lappegaard’s chances of collecting aren’t good at this time because Holznagel is a college student.