Walbridge police named in civil suit

WALBRIDGE – Members of the Walbridge Police Department are named as defendants in a lawsuit and are being accused of assault and causing intentional emotional distress.

The village police department also is named as a defendant as it is responsible for negligent and/or intentional acts of its employees.

Brady Donnell, Woodville, filed suit Dec. 16 against Walbridge police officers Jonathan Schmidlin, Jason Algarin and John Eggleston, Walbridge Police Chief Kenneth Campbell, the Walbridge Police Department, the Village of Walbridge and Ken Gilsdorf, who is commander of the village’s Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

Donnell’s suit stated he was present at the VFW post on Main Street on Dec. 16, 2021, after being in contact with a friend who was expressing suicidal thoughts. Donnell wanted to bring that friend to the post to talk to other members and address his mental health concerns.

Donnell, a veteran, was a member in good standing of the VFW post. He had previously reached out to members by text to asked about the VFW crisis intervention team.

Algarin, according to text messages included in the court documents, led the crisis intervention team. The text messages also expressed Donnell’s opinion that Algarin was “an absolute idiot relating to people who are in a mental health crisis.”

While at the post, Algarin, who was not on duty at the time, allegedly began an altercation with Donnell by applying his fingers to pressure points on or about Donnell’s neck and rib cage and chest bumped Donnell.

Donnell allegedly told Algarin to stop and asked his friends to begin recording the incident.

Algarin is accused of throwing Donnell to the ground, sitting on his chest and placing him in a chokehold for approximately 3 minutes, causing severe harm to his chest and vocal cords.

When Walbridge police officers, including Schmidlin, arrived, Algarin allegedly told them that Donnell had assaulted him and was a danger to himself and the community.

Donnell was involuntarily committed to St. Charles Hospital, Oregon, where he remained for approximately four days and was administered medications against his will.

Donnell’s lawsuit claims the defendants acted on behalf of their employer, which is the Walbridge Police Department, and behaved in such a manner to cause severe emotional distress, done with malice and reckless regard.

The lawsuit claims that Donnell suffered assault, battery, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy, negligent infliction of emotional distress, intentional infliction of emotional distress and respondeat superior, which is the legal doctrine according to which an employer is responsible for the actions of its employees performed during the course of their employment.

Donnell is asking for compensatory damages of $25,000 and punitive damages of $25,000.

The case had been assigned to Wood County Common Pleas Judge Molly Mack.