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City denies false arrest

The city of Medford has denied that two police officers unfairly arrested retired city attorney Ronald Lee Doyle in a misdemeanor case that was never prosecuted.

The City Council at an upcoming meeting is expected to pass a resolution agreeing to pay any judgments that might be levied against officers Paul Mellgren and Patrick Dennis.

Lori Cooper, current city attorney, said the resolution isn't an indication that the city is preparing to settle the case.

"I don't think the case is going anywhere," she told the council Thursday.

Because the city is self-insured, Robert Franz, a lawyer hired by the city to represent it against Doyle, urged councilors to pass the resolution agreeing to pay any potential damages against Mellgren and Dennis to make sure any claims would be covered, Cooper said.

Doyle, an Ashland resident, had worked for the city of Medford for more than two decades until 2005. He claims he was denied access to a lawyer, was forced to provide a urine sample under a falsely obtained search warrant, and was wrongfully lodged in detox and at jail for an "unreasonable amount of time" after a traffic stop Dec. 5, 2014, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Medford. 

The city, in its response to the lawsuit filed by Doyle, denied the allegations.

According to the police report, Mellgren pulled Doyle over at 11 p.m. on Sept. 5, 2014, after Doyle pulled out of the Trophy Club and made an improper turn into the center lane on Central Avenue.

After the traffic stop, Doyle declined a field sobriety test, and Mellgren took him into custody and transported him to the Moore detoxification center, where Doyle blew .01 into a Breathalyzer, well below the .08 legal limit, according to the report. Doyle was initially charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence of intoxicants.

After stopping Doyle in the Wells Fargo parking lot on South Riverside Avenue, Mellgren said he smelled an "obvious" amount of alcohol and that Doyle's eyes were "watery" and "bloodshot," according to the police report. When asked how much alcohol he'd consumed that night, Doyle said he hadn't had any, the report states. 

The police report prepared by Mellgren doesn't mention marijuana as a possible intoxicant. According to the city's Sept. 2 answer to Doyle's complaint, a urine sample indicated that Doyle had consumed marijuana sometime prior to driving his vehicle that day. 

According to the police report, Doyle became argumentative with officers.

Doyle, who claimed he suffered nerve damage from being handcuffed, is seeking a jury trial against the city and the two Medford police officers for damages alleging injury and humiliation.

Doyle also sued the city in 2008 over a dispute over health insurance being provided to retired employees.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow him on www.twitter.com/reporterdm.