Norwalk woman appeals police brutality ruling

A woman who accused four Norwalk police officers of brutality is now appealing a federal judge’s decision to clear the officers of wrongdoing.
Jessica Cuffman
Oct 7, 2012


Mimi Lee, 35, of Norwalk, was arrested May 7, 2009, for operating a vehicle under the influence.

After a caller told police Lee was urinating in a parking lot outside a hospital, officers arrived to find Lee leaving the hospital in a truck. They followed her to a Burger Kinger parking lot across the street, where Norwalk police Officer James Montana arrested her for drunken driving.

Lee’s lawsuit said she was a victim of excessive force from the moment she was handcuffed to the moment she left the police station.

She filed a lawsuit in federal court, but in August, U.S. Magistrate Judge James Knepp issued a 24-page opinion clearing Montana and three other officers working that night, including police Chief David Light.

Video surveillance footage of Lee’s time in custody showed much of her interactions with the officers.

“There is no evidence defendant Montana or any other officer exerted excessive force or acted unreasonably with regard to the handcuffing,” Knepp’s ruling stated. “Despite her assertions, the video evidence shows plaintiff was physically and verbally combative, and the video also shows this was much more than the ‘minimal non-compliance’ plaintiffs suggest occurred.”

In her lawsuit, Lee said she remained “totally passive.”

The video recording showed otherwise, according to Knepp’s ruling.

While at the police station, Lee threw a paper across the room; tried to walk past Officer Christian Hipp; kicked backward toward Montana, who she also shoved; and continued to struggle after he pinned her to a table and then the floor.

Lee’s lawsuit said Montana lost his temper, but the federal judge disagreed.

“Nothing suggests he lost his temper — in fact, he appears quite calm throughout the entire recording,” Knepp said.

Lee also accused officers of choking her, dragging her by the handcuffs and slamming her onto the ground.

The video shows Montana placing Lee into a choke-hold while she was bent over a table, but he did so after she shoved Hipp and tried to kick Montana.

When he allowed her to stand up after about 15 seconds of holding her down, Lee then tried to shove Montana, who forced her to the floor. Officers held her feet to keep her from kicking and she was handcuffed again.

“The evidence simply does not establish (Montana) had any evil motive or intent, or acted with reckless disregard for plaintiff’s rights,” Knepp’s ruling stated.

According to court documents, Lee filed a notice of appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The documents do not state a basis for the appeal.




Get drunk....pee in a PARKING LOT....get arrested for DUI....then FIGHT with cops, ON camera no less. Then have the B@LLS to sue the police for doing their job. The judge says NO dice and then you think you still have the right to appeal????? THis is why the court system is screwed up. Why is this even allowed? Maybe if you didn't drink, drive, urinate in public and then become combative you wouldnt be in this mess. Sorry MIMI this is your own fault. You should be glad you are not sitting in jail for a DUI. I am glad you didn't injury anyone else in your drunken stupor.


You have said it all,case dismissed !


double post


Police use of excessive force, especially deadly force, corruption and other misconduct hurts everyone – MOSTLY the police -- in terms of lost cooperation, support and trust – which, in turn, diminishes their effectiveness. That's the reality. Now what? To learn how to confront and prevent it, see, “Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police” ( And my blog at http://improvingpolice.wordpress....


That's it Mimi! Just refuse to admit you messed up! Love that the taxpayers have to pay even more for your mistakes!


This video would have been so much better with audio!!


I agree. Would love to know what they were saying. But she was just wild in there.

swiss family

Mimi, Mimi, Mimi....I would think that most normal and sober people , who, after looking at your attitude, cockiness, and anger in the tape, would realize how badly they acted, and how out of control they were and would be humbled , knowing that they had already , urinated in a public parking lot, and had already, been abusive and out of control, and had already been publicly humiliated by that incident and would walk away with their heads hung low, and would hope that the entire embarrassing incident would go away...But for some reason you have no shame

Please look at your actions and aggressive actions at a time when any "normal" person knows that being so aggressive will only hurt their situation. The Police have a job to do, and it is pretty clear with your refusal to be co-operative with them to get to the problem and solve you see on tape, the way you are yelling at the Police??? do you see on the video that you threw a manila envelope or file , across the room , in an act of defiance and control..??? Do you see the way you aggressively stand up , quickly, thereby threatening and intimidating all of the officers inside the building at the time?? do you realize that they were trying to be accommodating to you by NOT having you in restraints at that time, but were forced to "subdue" you when you became way to "out of control"??? I do understand that being "bossy" might intimidate your kids and family and maybe even your husband.. but i can assure you that you do not have that "super power" in the real world..

I hope that there is some sort of way to recoup all of the money and man power and time that the professionals put into this , so that "we" as the public are not left footing the bill for your revenge.. I hope that when you lose again, that you are made to pay back the agencies that are wasting time on this, merely because you, acting like a "spoiled brat" refuse to be humble, and admit that the one that was out of control that dday was not any of the Officers, but was You alone...