Oak Creek Town Board takes on Rodeman case

Former mayor sued after reported stun during arrest

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Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman

— The Oak Creek Town Board will meet with insurance lawyers in executive session today to discuss the ongoing lawsuit with former mayor Kathy “Cargo” Rodeman.

Rodeman was arrested in July 2008 on suspicion of driving under the influence. During the course of the arrest, she ran into her home, where then-Oak Creek Police Department officer Erik Foster used a stun gun to subdue her.

Rodeman sued the town and two of its former officers. Among the original complaints listed in the suit: assault, battery, trespass, false imprisonment and arrest, violation of civil rights, and extreme and outrageous conduct by Foster; extreme and outrageous conduct, violation of civil rights, and improper training and supervision, by former Police Chief Russ Caterinicchio; and improper training, supervision and retention, and violation of civil rights by the Town and the Town Board. The complaint also sought to hold the town and Town Board accountable for the police officers’ actions.

At 4:30 this afternoon, Town Board members will meet with the town’s insurance lawyer to discuss the case.

Town attorney Gordon Vaug­han submitted a motion to the U.S. District Court on July 23 requesting dismissal of the case. He argued that the case should be dismissed because Foster was following the law as he attempted to arrest Rodeman. He also wrote that it would not be appropriate to support Rodeman’s attempt to run into her house.

Rodeman’s “behavior here should be recognized as being contrary to public policy. The fact that her actions required Foster to enter her home should not inure to her benefit.”

According to a partial transcript of an interview included in the filing, Rodeman said that she thought once she was in her house, the officer would need a warrant to pursue her.

Rodeman’s attorney, Kris Hammond, said he and his client continue to claim that Foster entered the home illegally.

In the original complaint, Hammond wrote that, “as a direct result of the conduct of (Foster) … (Rodeman) endured electrical shock, pain, suffering, humiliation, scarring, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.”

Hammond said he could not talk about any possible settlement, and he is planning to file his response to the motion to dismiss soon.

The agenda for today’s meeting with Vaughan and the Town Board does not include any other items and does not have any action items.

Oak Creek Town Clerk Kar­en Halterman said the meeting is only for the trustees to get advice from Vaughan.

If no settlement is reached before then, the final pretrial conference is scheduled for Sept. 9.

Comments

max huppert 4 years, 4 months ago

Hey Cargo, when u win are you going to have a keg party? and can me and Scott come? Chief Russ,,, what a guy,, didn't think he would make it outa Oak Creek in one piece.

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nodui 4 years, 4 months ago

This woman is a complete disgrace. If the system is dumb enough to let her off, this world is in serious trouble. And whats worse off is she was the mayor of a once respectable town.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 4 months ago

Cargo already won at the DMV hearing when the hearing officer decided that it was an illegal search and seizure. The DA dropped the DUI presumably for the same reasons.

The situation now is not whether or not she "gets off" from the charges, but whether or not she collects damages for having her house improperly entered and being tasered in violation of OC police procedures.

From reading about other somewhat similar cases, I'd guess that Erik Foster is found not liable because he was poorly trained and he didn't know any better. I'd guess that Russ is found not liable because he was poorly trained and didn't know any better. I'd guess that the Town is found completely liable because they failed to train and oversee their police officers. That the Town accepted Chief Russ's 48 hour review of the case in which he apparently failed to consult a lawyer regarding the legality of the search and so on, would appear to be pretty clear failure to manage the police dept.

And it would appear that a good number of other cases with less compelling circumstances have been won against the police dept. It appears to be extremely rare to win a case against the officers themselves, but when the officers don't know the law and do an improper search and so on then the dept can easily be held responsible for failing to have their procedures follow the law and failing to have their police officers sufficiently understand those procedures.

The great irony of NoDui's comments is that they, if anything, help Cargo's case by suggesting that the police mistakes were not just mistakes, but that she was a target of the police dept.

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ftpheide 4 years, 4 months ago

Erik Foster had no propable cause to even try to stop Cargo! So he turned his camera off and made up a story! Cargo called 911 when the deranged Mr.Foster kept tasing her . Her call was found to be humorous. When Erik used his radio to call for help stating that five people were attacking him- a response team was dispatched immediately. Of course that was another fable on Erik's part. Erik's dismissal as an Oak Creek police officer was a blessing for the city. Sheriff Wall picked Erik up immediately and gave him a full time dispatching job. Sheriff Wall seems to like those illegal qualities in a person. He couldn't wait to hire Mackay because he had those same qualities! Be supportive of Cargo she went through a lot!

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