ACLU files new suit against City of Worthington, police department

Man arrested after hitting a building with his car twice in Polk County
Man arrested after hitting a building with his car twice in Polk County.

WORTHINGTON, Minn. — The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota has filed another lawsuit against the City of Worthington and its police department alleging an officer and ride-along partner used excessive force during a January 2019 arrest of a person of color.

According to a civil complaint filed Monday, Oct. 14, in United States District Court of Minnesota, while arresting Kelvin Francisco Rodriguez, Worthington Patrol Officer Mark Riley and ride-along partner Evan Eggers broke four of Rodriguez’s ribs and lacerated his pancreas and liver. As a result, Rodriguez was admitted into an intensive care unit for five days and underwent multiple surgeries and medical procedures.

“What happened to me is happening to other people, but they are silent,” Rodriguez said in a press release issued by the ACLU-MN Monday afternoon. “That’s why I’m working with the ACLU of Minnesota to file suit. As a human being, I ask that the police be held accountable for not adequately doing their job and respecting me as a human being. My wife and children saw me going in and out of life and death. I think it is fair to ask for justice. I don’t want to see the officer in uniform.”

The civil suit claims that Rodriguez — a Sheldon, Iowa resident who works at JBS in Worthington — was driving in Worthington and noticed a police car. Reportedly fearful of being a person of color in the city of Worthington — the city was sued by the ACLU-MN in 2017 in a similar case — Rodriguez pulled into an auto dealership parking lot. The suit alleges police didn’t have reason to suspect Rodriguez of wrongdoing, but they followed him. Rodriguez got out of the vehicle and ran.

Rodriguez’s requests for medical assistance were reportedly initially ignored. Once medical assistance was provided, he was airlifted to Sioux Falls, S.D., and underwent multiple surgeries and medical procedures. He incurred medical expenses close to $150,000, the complaint states.


A video of the arrest has also been uploaded online by the ALCU, but the dash camera footage provides a limited view of the arrest. This video contains expletives.

The civil lawsuit names Riley, Eggers and Worthington Police Chief Troy Appel in their individual capacities, as well as the city of Worthington and its police department.

Appel returned a phone call to The Globe, but said any comment would need to come from the city's attorney in this matter. An attorney for the city and police department has yet to be determined.

The ACLU requests a jury trial.

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