VALLEY CITY, N.D. (Valley News Live) – It started off as a routine traffic stop.
“He’s a danger to the community, and even more than that, he’s a danger to himself. So law enforcement had an obligation to the citizens of Valley City to take him into custody,” says Lilie Schoenack, the City Attorney for Valley City.
“He is compliant. He is cooperative. He is clearly a 72-year-old man who has some physical problems,” says Cash Aaland, an attorney with Aaland Law Firm.
But after he was found paralyzed in his cell, even an emergency surgery couldn’t save Warren Lindvold’s life.
“The preliminary autopsy shows that the cause of death was cervical fracture,” says Aaland. “From watching the video – likely caused by the physical force applied to Mr. Lindvold by the officers.”
In the dash-cam footage, you can see the officer pin Lindvold’s arms behind his back. You can hear Lindvold cry out in pain and talk about his medical condition, which leaves him unable to turn his head because his spine is fused. And at the police station, you can see officers drag Lindvold – leading attorneys to blame the officers and others for Lindvold’s death.
“The video is horrific because when you watch this video, you know that a number of hours later, Warren is discovered paralyzed in his jail cell with a fractured neck. And that these injuries occurred as a result of the treatment he received by the Valley City Police Department and the Barnes County Sheriff,” Aaland says.
But the city says the officers did nothing wrong.
“There certainly is no Internal Affairs investigation taking place because there’s no officer misconduct,” says Schoenack. When asked who or what was responsible for Warren Lindvold’s death, Schoenack says, “I have no way of answering that question. I have no idea. I have no way of knowing.”
We reached out to the Barnes County State’s Attorney Carl Martineck. In a statement, he said: “At this time, there is no evidence that Mr. Lindvold suffered any injuries at the jail.”
A tragic death that has Lindvold’s family searching for answers and justice.
“Warren’s family is primarily interested in making sure that this never happens again. That if someone is having a medical issue, they are treated appropriately,” Aaland says.