An Idaho man is suing Butte and Billings police claiming he was assaulted by an officer while celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Butte last year.
Shea Lamp alleges a Billings police officer who was assisting Butte police in patrolling during the festivities slammed him to the ground and caused serious injuries to his face. Lamp claims the officer, identified in the lawsuit as Shawn Mayo, violated his rights, because the alleged assault was not provoked.
The lawsuit was filed recently in Butte District Court.
The complaint alleges that on the evening of March 17, 2012, Lamp got into verbal altercation with another man while standing outside of a Butte bar. As Lamp was walking away from the argument, he said he was “attacked from behind and taken face first to the pavement.”
After he hit the ground, Lamp claims he realized it was a police officer, who he later identified as Mayo. Lamp was handcuffed, taken to the police station and then to the St. James Healthcare to be treated for his injuries, the document contends.
Lamp received a broken nose, a broken eye socket and a compression fracture to the spine.
The lawsuit states Lamp was never charged with a crime.
Butte County Attorney Eileen Joyce told The Montana Standard she is aware of the lawsuit and an attorney with the Montana Municipal Interlocal Authority (MMIA) will handle the case. Joyce said the county’s liability insurance is through the MMIA and they will defend Butte police and Butte-Silver Bow County, which are named in the lawsuit.
Lamp also names Mayo, Billings police and the City of Billings as defendants in the lawsuit.
Billings Police Chief Rich St. John declined commenting about the lawsuit.
“We are precluded from commenting on the active litigation,” St. John said Tuesday afternoon.
He referred comment to Mayo’s legal representative, Michele Braukmann, of Moulton Bellingham, P.C., and Brendon Rohan, of Poore, Roth and Robinson, P.C., legal representative for both Billings and Butte police departments.
Lamp is seeking unspecified monetary damages for physical and emotional distress. He is represented by Missoula attorney Tim Dailey.