City says officer acted reasonably in incident that led to lawsuit

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The City of Topeka denies one of its officers used excessive force in a traffic stop more than a year ago that's led to a federal civil rights lawsuit.

In a response filed last week, the city says Officer Christopher Janes did not violate Timothy Harris' constitutional rights, and that "based on the totality of the circumstances, Defendants' actions were objectively reasonable."

Harris filed a lawsuit in September over his January 23rd, 2018 arrest. Harris claims he and a woman were sitting in a car when Janes detained him for no reason. Harris' suit also contends he was repeatedly punched, suffering injuries including broken jaw.

However, incident reports state Harris declined medical treatment, and Harris lodged no complaints with the city or TPD prior to the lawsuit.

The city's filing also demands a jury trial and maintains Janes' is entitled to qualified immunity.

Following the January incident, Topeka Municipal Court records show Harris was found guilty of unlawful parallel parking, and interference with a law enforcement officer, but charges of disobeying a lawful police order and battery against an officer were dismissed.

Attorneys for Harris include Andrew Stroth. Stroth also is representing the family of Dominique White in their lawsuit against the city. White was shot and killed in September 2017 by two officers investigating a report of gunshots at Riley Park.

Court records indicate the judge last week also set a March 22nd scheduling conference in the case. The judge also ordered the parties to confer by March 1st and submit a report to the judge by March 15th on their discussion on topics that may include basis of claims and possibilities for resolving the case.