A Sparta restaurant owner has settled his federal harassment lawsuit against a Sparta police officer for $25,000.

Antonio Angelini accused Sgt. Jason Pipkin of violating his constitutional rights in retaliation for criticizing the police department in newspaper letters to the editor, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Madison.

“Unfortunately, when the police fail to police themselves, they end up in federal court,” Angelini’s attorney Frank Doherty said.

On March 6, 2010, Pipkin did a “walk-through” of Angelini’s business, Angelini’s Pizzeria and Ristorante, and demanded to inspect his liquor license, according to the suit.

Angelini was later arrested but no charges were filed.

As part of the settlement, Pipkin agrees to avoid Angelini, and Sparta police will document any contact with the restaurateur.

The suit was settled after U.S. District Judge William Conley said he would rule in Angelini’s favor at trial unless the defense presented more evidence than what was provided in earlier motions, Doherty said.

The settlement and mediation fees will be paid by Sparta’s insurance carrier. Pipkin’s attorney wanted to keep the settlement confidential, Doherty said, but Angelini objected.

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