Lawsuit Filed Against Two DMPD Officers Accused of Planting Evidence

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The man accused of having drugs on him at the time of his arrest is taking action against the city, Des Moines Police Department, and specifically two of its officers.

Last month's lawsuit comes after Officer Tyson Teut and Joshua Judge resigned last year amid allegations of planting narcotics on a 23-year-old Kyle Weldon after his arrest.

On Monday, the Des Moines City Council voted to pay for the former officers' legal representation, an obligation the city has for employees who are accused of doing something while they are an employee of the city. However, the biggest cost of the case comes to the police department's credibility.

"People are going to question whether or not it is a systemic problem within the organization or if it's an isolated incident," said Des Moines Police Sergeant Paul Parizek.

The department stresses the accusations against the officers were an isolated incident.

Sgt. Parizek says, "We've looked through hundreds of other arrests and cases that they were involved in."

In a lawsuit filed by Weldon, he claims in 2015 officers planted a rock of methamphetamine in his evidence bag before handing the evidence to investigators. The lawsuit also claims other members of the police department were aware of and condone the behavior.

Weldon spent more than a month in jail. Earlier this year, a judge dropped the charges against him after the Office of Professional Standards received a tip about the allegations.

Now, Weldon is suing on a number of issues like false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

Des Moines trial attorney Guy Cook questions, "is there proof that the Des Moines Police Department supervisors were aware of and condone the conduct?" He adds, "While not unheard of, winning a 'malicious prosecution' lawsuit for the act of filing charges is usually a steep climb."

The department expects more lawsuits to come its way, saying this case has already opened up the door for other cases involving disputed evidence to be re-investigated.

"There's been a couple of others where defense attorneys have made petitions to the court to have charges dismissed," Parizek says.

The Polk County Attorney's office has not filed any charges in the case and would not detail when charges would be expected.

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