A 24 year old Dickinson resident, Chelsey Borden, has filed a complaint against Dickinson Police Officer Chad Hopponen alleging that the officer used excessive force in arresting her on January 18.
I will try to give a brief timeline of events as reported by the Dickinson Press newspaper in their January 23 article https://www.thedickinsonpress.com/news/4879312-Woman-accuses-Dickinson-officer-of-using-excessive-force-department-to-investigate .
On January 18 at approximately 1 a.m. Chelsey Borden left “Army’s West” sports bar and went to the Holiday gas station and convenience store located approximately two city blocks to the east.
Chelsey waited inside the Holiday convenience store and talked to the cashier while waiting for a friend of hers to arrive. When her friend arrived, Funmi Ujima, the two of them continued to talk together inside of the store.
Within a short time, another woman walked into the store, who was known to both Chelsey and the friend that Chelsey was talking to. Chelsey said that she had had problems with this woman before, and that this woman began to argue, act aggressive, and then this woman physically attacked her.
A physical fight ensued, and Dickinson Police Officer Chad Hopponen arrived while this physical fight was still in progress.
The above timeline is roughly what happened, the bare facts. For the rest of the story, Chelsey Borden has her version, and Police Officer Chad Hopponen has his version.
Chelsey said that the other woman pushed her, took a swing at her, and that she was only trying to defend herself when Police Officer Hopponen arrived. Chelsey said that Officer Hopponen yelled at her, put his finger in her face, yelled at her to put her fucking hands behind her back, and yelled at her to fucking get down on the floor.
Chelsey’s quote from the Dickinson Press then said at this point, that Chelsey put her hands up, and said, Sir, please calm down, and let me explain what happened. Then, “Without notice or warning he swiped at my face and aggressively forced me to the ground causing my injuries,” she said. “I was thrown into the back of Officer Hopponen’s police cruiser, and he never asked me what happened or listened to my pleas for him to loosen the cuffs, which left bruises on my wrists to this day.”
Some of Chelsey’s complaints are, the Police Officer used excessive force, she suffered a cut on her cheek, she suffered bruising because the handcuffs were used improperly, and the Police Officer didn’t use the training he was taught for de-escalation.
The Police/Officer Chad Hopponen’s version:
The Dickinson Police stated that they do not want to discuss this arrest prior to the completion of both the criminal case and their internal investigation of Police Officer Chad Hopponen, beyond a few initial statements. “According to police, Borden was arrested shortly after 1:30 a.m. inside the store for what police say was disorderly and tumultuous behavior. Police say Borden resisted the officer’s attempts to gain compliance and take her into custody.” “Capt. Joe Cianni, Dickinson Police Department, said that the altercation and subsequent arrest were captured on audio and video footage.”
The Dickinson Press newspaper article covering this incident was fairly well written, it was detailed, and thorough. I wouldn’t say that it was leaning in either Chelsey Borden’s favor or Police Officer Chad Hopponen’s favor, but this article does not include Police Officer Chad Hopponen’s observations, assessments, or opinions, only Chelsey’s.
In a way, this Dickinson Press newspaper story is one-sided, because Police Officer Chad Hopponen wasn’t able to tell his side of the story. Many months from now, probably not until the criminal case against Chelsey Borden is concluded, the video and audio, of the altercation and the arrest will be made public.
I am writing about this news story, because I am angry about it. I want to point out what is not being told. Someone called the Police that night, it was probably the Holiday convenience store clerk. Everything was not going along fine, everything was not going O.K., there was an argument and then a physical fight between two people at 1:30 a.m. inside the store.
Whoever called the Dickinson Police Department, they didn’t just say that there was a fight inside the Holiday convenience store, the Police Dispatcher asks the caller to explain who is fighting, give a description, what are they wearing, are there any weapons, what is happening. I believe that it is likely that the caller told the dispatcher who attacked who, and who was hitting who.
Something else that is not being told, is that there was probably alcohol involved. It was 1:30 a.m. following a Friday night, Chelsey had just come from a bar, one or more of the parties involved had probably been drinking alcohol. Stop and think about it, when was the last time that you saw a fist-fight between two women at the Family Dollar or Family Fare grocery store during the day? This is not normal behavior.
My opinion is that when Officer Hopponen arrived at the Holiday convenience store, the Police Dispatcher had already given a description of the aggressor to the Police Officer, based on the information that was given by the caller. Or, that based on what Officer Hopponen saw as he approached, he was able to determine who the aggressor appeared to be.
I believe that Officer Hopponen encountered two very angry, combative, aggressive women who were currently engaged in a fist-fight inside the store. My opinion is, that one or both of the women were probably under the influence of alcohol, were not using normal judgement, and were not complying with Officer Hopponen’s instructions.
In Chelsey’s statements to the Dickinson Press reporter, she said that she was being yelled at by Officer Hopponen to put her fucking hands behind her back, and fucking get down on the floor, but instead of doing what he asked, she stood there with her hands up, saying let me explain.
When Police Officers arrive somewhere to possibly make an arrest, they do not know if the people that they are dealing with have any weapons on their person, such as a knife or a firearm. They would like to have compliance in handcuffing the person, rather than resistance or refusal, because they do not know if the person is armed or what they will do next. Failing to comply with the Police Officer’s request, means more to the Police Officer than just a difference of opinion, it poses a threat to the Police Officer.
Chelsey said that Officer Hopponen should have used his de-escalation training. He wasn’t trying to de-escalate, he was trying to make an arrest, take someone into custody, and transport them to jail. De-escalation, what does that mean in this case, not being arrested, not being taken to jail, and not having two misdemeanor charges on your record?
Prior to publishing this blog post article, I went to the North Dakota Court Repository internet site, and typed in “Chelsey Borden” for Stark County criminal cases. There is no record of her arrest, which probably means that the prosecutor or the police have dropped the charges against her.
Once the internal Dickinson Police Department investigation of Officer Chad Hopponen has been completed, the Dickinson Police said that the audio and video of the altercation and the arrest will be released to the public upon request. I am very interested to see and hear what happened.