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A La Crosse man is suing two University of Wisconsin-La Crosse police officers for what he said was a false arrest during a political debate last year.

Ronald Clark, 49, was arrested Oct. 26, 2010, outside a congressional debate at the university.

According to the suit, officers Dustin Barton and Nicole Miller arrested Clark without probable cause  when he tried to videotape them “harassing” a man.

Clark’s suit filed in La Crosse County Circuit Court seeks unspecified damages. No court date has been set.

According to the suit, a representative with a television news station reported to the officers that Clark and his friend brought a camera to the debate. Cameras were not banned, but videotaping the debate was prohibited.

Barton confronted Clark’s friend and ordered him outside but would not say why, the suit states. Clark pulled out his camera, but the officers seized him before he began recording.

The officers arrested and cited Clark for resisting and obstructing officers and disorderly conduct. Prosecutors later dismissed both citations.

Officers injured Clark’s wrist during the arrest and it has not healed, attorney Bernardo Cueto said.

Police said after the incident they escorted Clark out of the 3rd Congressional District debate after the League of Women Voters said he failed to comply with debate rules that prohibit recording.

University police Chief Scott Rhode said Clark wasn’t cited for refusing to put away his camera but for his unwillingness to cooperate with authorities.


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