A local man who was recently the recipient of a flurry of media attention after winning a court case involving his right to ride a Segway while intoxicated has recently taken the matter a step further and announced that he is filing a lawsuit against the city of Medina, MN and the local police department.
The intoxicated Segway-rider, Mark Greenman, says that he has been arrested multiple times for riding his personal scooter under the influence and that the repeated arrests amount to a form of harassment by local police officers. Greenman explains in his lawsuit that he does not have a problem with police doing their duty to enforce legitimate laws, but in his case the officers knew his behavior was not illegal yet persisted in arresting him for the same activity over and over.
Greenman, an attorney, filed suit in Hennepin County earlier this month against a multitude of local law enforcement officials. Greenman identified three separate drunk driving arrests and criminal charges that were field against him between 2010 and 2012, each one relating to his choice to drink and Segway ride. Greenman points out that in each case the charges were dismissed by either local judges or the Hennepin County Attorney.
The second of the three convictions was appealed all the way to the state Court of Appeals which decided at the beginning of this year that individuals in Minnesota need not fear arrest for impaired Segway riding. The Court held that Segways, with top speeds of only 12 miles per hour, fall under provisions of state law dealing with pedestrians and do not qualify as motor vehicles under statutory language. Because Segways could not be considered motor vehicles, there is no right to charge a person with driving while impaired if they weren’t, legally speaking, ever driving.
Greenman argues that the Medina, MN police department and local prosecutors knew full well that his behavior did not violate the law before the decision was made to arrest and charge him. He says a simple reading of state statute would reveal that such charges were baseless and that the local officials were put on notice after the first of his three convictions was tossed out of court. Greenman claims the local law enforcement officials are guilty of malicious prosecution and has asked the court to award him more than $50,000 in damages.
Local law enforcement agencies refuse to admit that they did anything wrong in Greenman’s case, saying they were simply trying to keep the public safe. It was recently revealed that Greenman pled guilty in June of this year to reduced charges related to his third drunk Segway arrest. Greenman agreed to plead guilty to reckless driving of a personal assistive mobility device. Unlike a DUI conviction, which can leave a lasting mark on your record, the personal mobility device charge is only a petty misdemeanor.
Source: “Medina Segway driver sues city over multiple DWIs,” by Abby Simons, published at StarTribune.com.