A Medina man who successfully warded off repeat drunken-driving charges for riding his Segway while intoxicated is now suing the city and its police department, saying that his repeat arrests were tantamount to harassment because they knew his actions were not illegal.
Mark Greenman, 48, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court. Among the defendants are Medina Police Chief Ed Belland, city prosecutor Steven Tallen and two police officers.
Greenman, a Minneapolis employment attorney, cites three separate DWI arrests and criminal charges involved with the Segway from 2010 to March 2012, each of which were dismissed by district court judges or the Hennepin County Attorney. The second dismissal was upheld by the Minnesota Court of Appeals in January, which ruled that the Segway, which tops out at about 12 miles per hour, falls under traffic regulations pertaining to pedestrians and is not considered a motor vehicle.
Greenman pleaded guilty last month to recklessly driving a personal assistive mobility device in the case stemming from the last arrest. The charge is a petty misdemeanor.
Through his attorney, Jordan Kushner, Greenman claims in his lawsuit that the department knew his actions weren’t illegal during each arrest. He accused the officials of unlawful search and seizure, denial of due process and malicious prosecution and other counts, and requested more than $50,000 in damages.
Tallen declined to discuss the suit Wednesday, saying only that it was baseless. Belland stuck by his department’s actions, saying they were in the interest of public safety.
“We still believe that we were serving the public’s best interests by trying to take someone who was intoxicated and driving an electric motorized vehicle off the road,” he said.