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CJ Baker

March 08, 2011 8:28 am

Lady Panthers statebound

PHS girls claim third at regionals

The Lady Panthers basketball team made the third time a charm at regionals, avenging two regular season losses to Worland to take third place at the Class 3A West regional tournament.

After losing to Worland by 20 points a week earlier, the Powell High School girls came back to beat Worland on Saturday in a 38-36 nail-biter.

A federal jury has awarded $30,001 to Tricia Wachsmuth in her civil rights lawsuit against the Powell Police Deparment, finding that officers unsafely deployed a flashbang and used her as a human shield while executing a search warrant at her home two years ago.

The jury rejected Wachsmuth's claims that the officers didn't knock and announce their presence and immediately entered the East North Street home. The jury determined police knocked, announced, and waited a reasonable amount of time before ramming open the door and that their plan to enter was constitutional.

March 03, 2011 8:31 am

Jury mulling police suit

Plaintiff requests $590,000, defense asks for dismissal

At press time Wednesday, a federal jury was mulling whether the Powell Police Department violated the constitutional rights of a city resident when they searched her and her husband’s home for drugs two years ago.

The case was handed to an eight-member jury just after 1 p.m., following 11 days of testimony and arguments in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming in Cheyenne in a lawsuit brought by the woman, Tricia Wachsmuth.

The Powell police officers who deployed a flashbang during a 2009 search of a Powell couple’s home for drugs did not know exactly where the device would land before deploying it, but they were comfortable no one was in the area, they testified last week in a federal civil rights trial over the police department’s actions in the search.

Two of the Powell police officers who participated in the 2009 drug search of Tricia and Bret Wachsmuth’s Powell home say they were concerned Tricia Wachsmuth was allowed to lead the officers into the home’s basement before it was cleared. However, they and the other officers who entered the basement that night agree that Tricia Wachsmuth went willingly and was not forced to do so.

Plaintiff Tricia Wachsmuth continued to present her case against the city of Powell and 11 Powell police officers last week, eliciting testimony from a Park County Sheriff’s lieutenant who believed police were using too much force in searching the woman’s home and from a police-practices expert who said police made a “mountain out of a molehill.”

Opposing attorneys and the woman suing the city of Powell and 11 Powell police officers for alleged civil rights violations laid out their cases for an eight-member federal jury in Cheyenne on Tuesday.

On Feb. 24, 2009, Powell police officers executed a search warrant for a marijuana grow operation at the East North Street home of Bret and Tricia Wachsmuth. During that search, they used a battering ram to knock down the door and deployed a flashbang in the master bedroom.

February 28, 2011 12:44 pm

Police suit updates

Monday, Feb. 28

This case is going to be determined by the eight-member jury.

U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson today rejected a request from the defense to dismiss the case for insufficient evidence after plaintiff Tricia Wachsmuth rested her case.

"Sound like we have jury disputes at this point," the judge said, essentially reaffirming a decision he made Jan. 25.

Civil rights trial slated to last two weeks

A Powell woman’s claims that the Powell Police Department used excessive force in searching her home for illegal drugs are being presented to a federal jury in Cheyenne this week.

The jury will be asked to help determine whether Powell police violated Tricia Wachsmuth’s constitutional rights in seizing two marijuana plants in a February 2009 search of her and her husband Bret’s home.

February 10, 2011 8:45 am

Exhibit hall likely to be destroyed

County meeting next week in Powell to discuss future

The Park County Fairgrounds’ Large Exhibit Hall will likely be demolished prior to the 2011 Park County Fair, county commissioners said Tuesday.

A Jan. 24 report from a county-hired engineer advised commissioners it probably would be better to replace the aging, failing building instead of spending an unknown amount of money trying to repair it. The hall, which houses general exhibits during the fair, has been closed to the public since a late January inspection revealed potentially unsafe structural failures. The Small Exhibit Hall, attached to west side of the Large Exhibit Hall, and hallways running between the two buildings have been found to be safe for use and remain open to the public.

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