Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman

Photo by Matt Stensland

Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman

Rodeman charges dropped

Former Oak Creek mayor plans civil suit against town

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— The District Attorney's Office dropped all charges Wednesday against former Oak Creek mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman, who was arrested July 19 in an incident that eventually led to her being stunned with a Taser in her home.

County Court Judge James Garrecht accepted motions filed by the District Attorney's Office early Wednesday morning to dismiss all charges against Rodeman and her co-defendants.

But it doesn't appear the matter is over. Kris Hammond, Rodeman's attorney, said he plans to file a civil lawsuit against the town and possibly the Oak Creek Police Department's former officers.

Former Oak Creek Police Sgt. Erik Foster arrested Rodeman, 54, after he said she failed to use a turn signal and then fled from police. Police alleged Rodeman ran into her home, which Foster entered before using a Taser to subdue and arrest her on suspicion of misdemeanor charges of eluding police, obstructing a police officer, resisting arrest, driving under the influence of alcohol and driving under the influence per se, as well as a traffic infraction of failure to signal.

Foster resigned, along with Oak Creek police Chief Russ Caterinicchio on Sept. 11.

"I know the community gave us their blessing today, but the real sigh of relief was when (Foster and Caterinicchio) left town," Rodeman said after leaving the courthouse Wednesday. "Since they resigned, the air in town is easier to breathe."

Charges also were dropped Wednesday against Rodeman's two co-defendants. Shoshanna Montoya, 28, was arrested July 19 on suspicion of third-degree assault and obstructing a police officer, for allegedly trying to prevent Foster from entering Rodeman's home. Tashena Montoya, 27, was cited for obstructing a police officer and possession of drug paraphernalia.

During a Sept. 10 hearing, a Colorado Department of Revenue hearing officer dismissed the driver's license suspension Rodeman faced after failing a Breathlyzer test on the night of her arrest. Rodeman and Hammond had appealed the suspension on the grounds that Foster's warrantless entry into Rodeman's home was unlawful.

The same allegation helped derail the District Attorney's criminal case against Rodeman. Prosecutors doubted they would have been able to prevail, Garrecht said.

If Rodeman's case proceeded beyond her first appearance, the defense would have challenged the legality of Foster's entry into the home, searches of Rodeman's home and car, and the use of a Taser, Hammond said.

"The motions they anticipated would have gutted their case," Hammond said.

Civil suit

Rodeman stated her intention Wednesday to file a civil suit against the town of Oak Creek, seeking unspecified damages for allegations of excessive force, illegal entry and illegal searches.

No lawsuits have been filed, Hammond said, although he and Rodeman indicated they plan to proceed quickly. By law, the town must be notified of her intent to sue within 180 days of the incident.

Mayor J. Elliott said he was unable to comment on the matter Wednesday, in the absence of any legal notice of such a lawsuit.

While seeking damages would help pay for the women's legal fees, Rodeman said her primary motivation is to prevent Foster and Caterinicchio from gaining employment with other police departments.

"It's like if you've got some horrid disease, and obviously you want to get rid of your disease, but don't want to give your disease to the town down the street," Rodeman said.

"Without these guys facing any consequences for what they did, they'll just go somewhere else," she said.

In August, the Oak Creek Town Board called for an independent investigation into Rodeman's arrest and Caterinicchio's subsequent internal review that supported Foster's actions. The external review since has been called off, as the officers involved are no longer town employees, Trustee and Police Commissioner Dave Ege said.

The Town Board "absolutely failed" in its oversight capacity by not delving deeper into the multitude of complaints about its former police officers, Rodeman said.

"Why they put (Caterinicchio) in charge of an investigation of his own guy, I'll never understand," Rodeman said.

Comments

Harvey Lyon 5 years, 11 months ago

My recommendation to Ms Rodeman is let by-gones be by-gones and don't drink and drive.

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Duke_bets 5 years, 11 months ago

Too funny! If board members would have listened to Mayor J way back when, the Town would not be in this predicament. Mayor J's next motion should be to have Bleur, Fisher and Wisecup pay for the lawsuit. Then, he should vote back in Crawford and Spike. Everything would be back to normal.

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Scrapiron 5 years, 11 months ago

Duke, you are SO right on! Make those incompetent, power hungry morons PAY! They were the ones who perpetuated the whole fiasco in the first place. Put the blame where it BELONGS!

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upstream 5 years, 11 months ago

hmmm...check my facts, but wasn't Cargo the mayor when Commissioner Ege's wife sued the city for almost the same thing? Strange, but true.

"...her primary motivation is to prevent Foster and Caterinicchio from gaining employment with other police departments". hmmm...can't figure out how suing the town she loves so much keeps these 2 guys from getting jobs elsewhere. But, suing the town does allow Cargo to keep good on her promise to reimburse all those who contributed to the fund established to get her off her most recent drunk driving charges. Very clever. As per usual, Cargo is all about Cargo and the taxpayers of Oak Creek are supposed to pick up the tab on yet another one of her debacles. Is it too late for us to sue her for all the financial mismanagment and cronism that went on under her reign?

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Duke_bets 5 years, 11 months ago

upstream - Check your facts again............I don't believe Eve was ever tasered or had her door blown down by a member of the OCPD for failing to signal.

I'm fairly certain this won't raise your taxes. And, explain who the 'us' in your last sentence.

Lastly, have you had enough time to heal?

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Scrapiron 5 years, 11 months ago

Well, It shows she has friends and support. The Town had every oppurtunity- EVERY to remove those two so called'peace officers' and they DIDN'T! Cargo's lawsuit is more of a STATEMENT than a monetary gain. As far as the 'drunk driving' charges go, it was reported that they were DROPPED, therefore don't exist and furthermore are no longer an issue of discussion! Move on!

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 11 months ago

Somehow it is Cargo's fault that a police officer in response to a 0 points traffic ticket illegally forcibly enters her house and Tasers her because she was not quickly enough helping him illegally arrest her?

If Officer Erik had simply gone to the front door, knocked and said "Cargo, you need to come out for a roadside sobriety test" then all would have been okay. She probably loses her license if she stays inside. He would have kept his job.

If Chief Russ had performed a reasonable investigation and learned what the DMV hearing officer and the DA learned, that Erik had done an illegal entry and violated the OCPD Taser policy, and then suspended or fired Erik then he would still be Chief.

Cargo's role in all this seems to be that she was such a high profile target of the OCPD that they completely lost their minds handling all aspects of her case.

If the taxpayers of OC end up paying damages to Cargo for the illegal entry and illegal arrest of Cargo then that is what we deserve for failing to responsibly supervise the OCPD. (I pay as much in property taxes to Town of OC as anyone). Maybe more people will be more concerned about a police dept violating people's rights when the voters realize neglecting that problem can cost them money.

But let's get real, Cargo's civil lawsuit is about money. Those that caused her to be Tasered in her bedroom after an illegal entry will be punished by having to pay her money. Cargo will be compensated for being attacked in her home by receiving money. But then Cargo being Cargo, she won't take the money and run, she'll spend it in OC trying to do some good to her house and helping others.

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Russell Orms 5 years, 11 months ago

At lease one thing is clear now- the best way to avoid a traffic ticket is to speed home, run inside and slam the door.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 11 months ago

"the best way to avoid a traffic ticket is to speed home, run inside and slam the door" - I suppose that is true if you think your local police dept is incompetent and would violate the law by clearly violating exactly what the Supreme Court says is allowable by the police. It is like saying people are free to commit robbery in some town because the local police dept does not give Miranda warnings when arresting suspects.

Now that Chief Russ and Officer Foster have resigned, there are probably no local police officers still employed that are so inept to so blatantly break the law when dealing with a traffic ticket. A competent police officer would simply stop at your front door and knock. And if no one were to answer the door then the officer, depending upon the circumstances, could legally enter the house to do a welfare check and they might bring in the SWAT team to be sure that the fleeing driver is not holding hostage the innocent occupants of the house.

So driving home to avoid a traffic ticket could easily turn into giving the police the right to search your car and your house. A real bad idea.

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