Pfaendler

Freedom Christopher Pfaendler is questioned at Walmart in Sahuarita in August 2019, in this image from a police body camera.

The attorney for a man who said his rights were violated during an arrest at Walmart in August 2019, has refiled a lawsuit against the Town of Sahuarita two weeks after it was dismissed by a judge.

This video contains surveillance footage from the Sahuarita Walmart and a Sahuarita Police Department officer's body-worn camera. It shows Freedom Christopher Pfaendler from the time of his arrival to Walmart on the morning of Aug. 6, 2019, to his arrest. The first 8 minutes are footage of him shopping and the rest are of his interaction with SPD up to his arrest and search. This video was edited to remove a section of time when the SPD officer turned off his body-camera's audio and the time of Pfaendler's transport from Walmart.

Published by Green Valley News and Sahuarita Sun

U.S. District Judge John C. Hinderaker ruled Dec. 17 that Freedom Christopher Pfaendler’s suit against the town and five police officers failed to make a case on any of its assertions and granted the town’s motion to dismiss. But he left open the door to have the complaint refiled, and Pfaendler’s attorney, Richard Wintory, did so on Monday.

The refiled case expands on several points, and claims nothing described to 911 operators suggested Pfaendler “was acting in a suspicious manner or doing anything other than shopping.”

It also said, “One dispatcher suggested to the caller that Plaintiff likely could not hear anything if he was wearing a Bluetooth-equipped helmet.”

Pfaendler had made that claim during questioning inside the store before he was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct after customers became alarmed by his behavior. The incident took place a few days after mass shootings at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, and outside a Dayton, Ohio, bar.

Police said a Walmart manager called 911 to report that a man carrying a camouflage backpack and wearing a full-face motorcycle helmet was refusing to remove the helmet despite being asked four times. The officer said Pfaendler, who was not armed, told officers he was listening to music and never heard the manager ask him to remove his helmet.

Pfaendler’s lawsuit claimed he was illegally searched, falsely arrested, maliciously prosecuted by being detained for 17 hours, and was defamed when the department public information officer talked with media after the incident. Charges were dropped in October 2019.



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