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Groom beaten unconscious by police at his own wedding

John Twombly was beaten unconscious at his own wedding.  (Source: State USA

DES MOINES, IA — A settlement has been reached for a groom who was beaten unconscious at his own wedding reception, although the city still refuses to admit their officer did anything wrong.

Wedding Bash

The case dates back to 2011, when John Twombly and his bride Khamla made their vows.   They held a reception with roughly 275-300 guests, and hired an off-duty Des Moines police officer, Andrew Phipps, to provide security.  

During a night of dancing with his guests, Twombly became upset when once one of his groomsmen became “very flirty” with his wife.  The groomsman — Mr. Cullen — grabbed the bride from behind and made gestures that he was going to grab her breasts.  This provoked a response from the groom.  Twombly pushed Cullen, causing him to lose his balance and knock over a ceramic column, falling into the lap of Officer Phipps.  Phipps called for backup.

According to the lawsuit, Twombly had regained his composure and was talking to his guests when as many as 20 officers swarmed into the reception hall moments later.   The officers “overwhelmed” Twombly and slammed him into a wall, then tackled to the ground.  The version of events was corroborated by several other guests who were addressed by name in the complaint.

“They just came running through the entrance of the room, hit me in the back of the head, and I went down to the ground,” said Twombly to WHOtv.

One particularly brutal cop, Officer Cody Grimes, was seen by witnesses punching the groom in the eye while he was on the floor, already handcuffed.   Grimes delivered repeated blows to his Twombly’s face.  A 63-year-old guest named John Ellsworth Frederick Schildberg III felt that Twombly’s life was in danger and intervened after witnessing the beating.  Schildberg “reached out and placed his hand over Defendant Grimes’ bicep to prevent another punch.”  The document states that Mr. Schildberg “saw a wholesale loss of composure and control” on the part of the officer, and believed that if he continued, he would have killed the Twombly.

For stepping in and possibly saving the groom’s life, Mr. Schildberg was “shoved” into a hallway and “repeatedly kicked” by Officer Grimes while being threatened with jail time for interference with official acts.

“The police officer completely lost it,” Schildberg told Fox News. “I didn’t touch the officer at all except on his bicep, and he went berserk on me. … He pinned my head down with his knee.”

Schildberg was indeed charged with interference with official acts, but the charge was later dismissed.

Twombly, who had lost consciousness, was hospitalized and his injuries were assessed.  A CAT scan revealed multiple fractures to his right orbital bone.  He was charged with criminal mischief, two counts of assault on an officer, and disorderly conduct.

Warning Signs Ignored

Officer Cody Grimes.

Officer Cody Grimes.

The Des Moines Police Department stood by their officers and cleared them of all wrongdoing.  After about 2 weeks of paid administrative leave time, the officers — even Grimes — were patrolling the street once again.

lawsuit was filed against Grimes and Phipps, citing a number of violations of rights and other damages.  Nearly 3 years after the incident, John Twombly wasawarded $75,000 from the city.  Yet officials insisted the money was not an admission of guilt.  In fact, the department to this date stands by Grimes’ actions in the 2011 incident, and refuses to release the internal police review.

“Yeah, I think he’s real dangerous,” Twombly remarked about Officer Grimes. “I think he should be reviewed and fired.”

The restraint that police departments show before firing an officer like Cody Grimes has time and again proven to enable serial abusers and bad cops to remain in power.  The night he used a groom’s face as a punching bag was not the first time he had displayed his poor judgement as a police officer.

In October 2010, responding to a call near the KCCI news studios in downtown Des Moines, Officer Grimes saw a dark figure with something in his hand, so he opened fire.  It turned out to be a KCCI photographer who had been outside with cell phone in his hands.  The shot missed.  Grimes was, of course, cleared and kept on the force.

In December 2013, Officer Grimes again made headlines in a case of domestic battery when he allegedly choked his girlfriend and threw her down the stairs in his home.  Grimes was finally charged in the case, but remains on administrative leave with pay unless he actually gets a conviction.

Had Grimes been fired when he tried to shoot a photojournalist in 2010, perhaps the suffering of his future victims could have been avoided.

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5 Responses to Groom beaten unconscious by police at his own wedding

  1. bargain bob says:

    the scumbag cop should be in prison! along with the dumbass who called for backup.

  2. flek says:

    First mistake was to hire a cop.
    Never hire a cop.
    They’re morally and mentally bankrupt.
    That’s how they became cops in the first place.

    For security, hire an honorable vet you know personally.


  3. Dave says:

    This COP is out of control and needs to be put down!

  4. NC says:

    “For stepping in and possibly saving the groom’s life, Mr. Schildberg was “shoved” into a hallway and “repeatedly kicked” by Officer Grimes while being threatened with jail time for interference with official acts.”


    20 police officers swarming the place and pouncing on 1 guy and that’s not considered wrongdoing? ARE THEY F**KING INSANE???!!!!

    Oh man, what I wouldn’t do to beat the shit out of them all with a gang of my own people the same way they did to this man. This makes me sick!

    Everyone at the wedding should have pounced on every one of these cops. This is bullshit!

    Enforce your Rights people!!!

    It’s not that hard. If someone hits you in a life-threatening way, you have every God given right known to man to defend yourself and beat them back. Enough with the cowardice! FIGHT BACK!!!!

    How many times do I have to say it?


  5. Enbe says:

    Sigh. What kind of idiot has friends, much less a groomsman, who think it’s a joke to provoke the groom on his wedding day by acting out sexual battery and assault on his bride?

    That said, maybe this will begin the waking up of this newly married man. But then again, he may not have the capacity to connect only two dots.

    As far as the criminal gang in blue, in and out of uniform, I cannot put my thoughts here, but I think we all know what it requires.

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