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Couple, Hebron settle lawsuit over arrest while woman was in labor
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Couple, Hebron settle lawsuit over arrest while woman was in labor

HAMMOND | A DeMotte couple have settled their lawsuit against the town of Hebron and two police officers who stopped their car in 2012 and arrested the husband while his wife was in labor.

James and Dana Reiner sued Hebron and officers Anthony Dandurand and Travis Thomas in 2013 in U.S. District Court in Hammond.

The couple were on their way to a hospital in January 2012 when Dandurand pulled behind their car and activated his flashing emergency lights, the lawsuit says.

Instead of pulling over, James Reiner turned on his blinkers and continued to drive while talking to a police dispatcher he reached by calling 911.

He eventually pulled over, saw an officer approaching with gun drawn and got out with both of his hands raised, the lawsuit says. Reiner tried to shout over the officer's siren that his wife was in labor and needed to get to a hospital.

The Reiners claimed the officer, Dandurand, shouted back at James Reiner: "I will shoot you, you piece of s---! Get on the ground!"

The lawsuit says James Reiner continued to attempt to explain that his wife was in labor and needed to get to the hospital. The couple claimed Dandurand replied: "You will be in jail tonight, and you will not be there when your child is born."

Dana Reiner got out of the car after Thomas arrived on scene to show him she was pregnant and that her water had broken. Thomas pointed his gun at her stomach and yelled at her to get back in the car, according to the lawsuit.

The couple claimed Dandurand did not call an ambulance until 15 minutes after the traffic stop began. It arrived within seven minutes, and Dana Reiner gave birth three minutes after arriving at Franciscan St. Anthony Health hospital in Crown Point, the lawsuit says.

James Reiner was arrested and spent the night at the Porter County Jail.

The defendants filed a motion seeking to dismiss the case, in part, because they said they were entitled to qualified immunity.

Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry in July 2014 ruled the couple could pursue various claims against the defendants to the extent they allege wrongdoing after the officers knew Dana Reiner was in labor.

"The court does not think a reasonable officer, after realizing (as Officers Dandurand and Thomas did soon after handcuffing James) that plaintiffs were en route to the hospital to have their baby, would have continued to detain them, much less have kept James under arrest and taken him to jail for the night. To the contrary: such conduct, at that point, violates the clearly established guarantees of the Fourth Amendment," Cherry wrote.

Cherry on Monday granted the parties' motion to dismiss, which said a settlement had been reached. Court documents did not include further details of the settlement.

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