Jury sides with officer in excessive force suit

Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Superior Court jury unanimously sided with an Anchorage police officer in a civil suit against the city, saying he did not use excessive force while arresting an apparently intoxicated woman.

The verdict in favor of officer James Conley was handed down Monday after a week-long trial.

Becky Saloka, 31, ended up with a broken nose, scrapes and bruises after an encounter with police in October 1998. Saloka later pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and refusing to take an alcohol breath test, but she sued the city, charging that Conley used excessive force in arresting her.

Saloka's attorney Roy Williams said Conley tackled her from behind and repeatedly slammed her face into the ground.

Defense attorney Scott Hendricks Leuning said that any force used was appropriate and made necessary by Saloka's abusive behavior. Leuning said Saloka repeatedly tried to leave the scene, kicked Conley and tried to kick out the windows and doors of the police car where she was placed.

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