Tonight the city of Arcata rejected a claim filed by Kyle Zoellner at their city council meeting and referred the claim to the Redwood Empire Municipal Insurance Fund.
Zoellner is alleging false arrest by the Arcata Police Department the night of David Josiah Lawson’s murder. The claim reads:
“I was physically assaulted and brutally beaten unconscious at 1120 Spear Avenue, Arcata CA, on the morning of April 15, 2017 by multiple assailants. I was taken to a police car by Officer Nielsen of the Arcata Police Department (APD) and detained at the above location for an extended amount time without receiving medical attention.”
Zoellner was arrested at the scene but was released by a judge three weeks later. The judge ruled that due to a lack of physical evidence, there was no need to hold Zoellner for trial.
“I was still in a semiconscious state due to my injuries during the interrogation with APD. I was arrested without probable cause and transported to the Humboldt County Jail for booking.”
Six months after his arrest, Zoellner has filed a claim seeking damages for not only false arrest but loss of wages and defamation of character.
He has listed the names of public officials such as city council members and Arcata Police Officers as those who have caused him loss and injury.
“This is vindictive of what happens when you don’t do anything for six months. It leaves the impression that someone can file a claim that they were falsely arrested, when they are the only suspect,” a community member commented during oral communications.
“If this continues, this person will be completely exonerated.”
Arcata City Attorney Nancy Diamond stated that since the city rejected the claim, Zoellner has grounds to file a lawsuit.
“The first six month time period is that they have to file a claim with the city. This came in with two days to spare before the end of that first six month time period. They filed it to do what we say, ‘preserve’ their right to then file the lawsuit if they choose to.”