The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Area law enforcement officials being sued

 

October 11, 2017



John Jensen, Cheyenne County Sheriff, Mark Overman, Scottsbluff County Sheriff, and Kevin Spencer, Scottsbluff Police Chief, are being sued for harassment by Nebraska Crime Commission members Lisa Stamm and Vaness Humaran.

According to a complaint filed in Lancaster County District Court on Oct. 2, Jensen, Overman and Spencer were acting both in individual and official capacities when they violated Stamm and Humaran’s right to privacy, right against unlawful search and seizure, right to equal protection under the law, violated Stamm’s right to free speech, and engaged in a conspiracy to violate Stamm and Humaran’s constitutionally-protected rights.

The harassment allegedly stems from the NCC denying funds to the Western Intelligence Narcotic Group due to “non-compliance.”

The drug task force is comprised of western Panhandle law enforcement agencies, including the Cheyenne and Scottsbluff sheriff’s offices and the Scottsbluff Police Department.

The NCC oversees the award and distribution of state and federal grant money, and compliance by grant recipients.

Stamm, as NCC grants division chief, is responsible for administering the Justice Assistance Grant, funded through the U.S. Department of Justice.

Humaran serves as NCC juvenile justice administrator and justice assistance grant administrator. As a member of the JAG strategic planning group, Humaran participated in recommendations for funding JAG programs such as the WING task force.

WING had received NCC funds for 25 years, but “due to WING’s continued non-compliance with grant requirements,” its JAG funds were withdrawn in May.

The complaint alleges, “WING’s non-compliance has been a continuing problem for years prior to the withdrawal of grant funds.”

Following the defunding of the WING grant in May “due to their habitual non-compliance”, Stamm was subjected to “unlawful and harassing conduct” from the sheriffs and police chief.

Overman and Spencer “filed frivolous complaints” with the Attorney General’s office regarding Stamm’s private Facebook posts and made “numerous telephone calls” to the Attorney General’s office “criticizing Stamm.” Stamm also received harassing calls directly.

The suit alleges on June 12, Jensen used the Nebraska Criminal Justice Information System to perform an unlawful search on Stamm.

Spencer, in June and September 2016, allegedly used the NCJIS to conduct unlawful searches on Humaran after she assumed some duties of administering JAG, the grant funding WING.

According to the complaint, the “unlawful search was a blatant violation of Humaran’s rights to privacy, rights against unlawful search and seizure, and was done for the sole purpose of harassing Humaran.”

The three officials then allegedly “unlawfully disseminated the illegally obtained NCJIS information on the plaintiffs to each other and possibly other members of the WING group.”

The searches were “not conducted for the ‘administration of justice’ as required under law, regulation and agreement.”

As such, the officials allegedly “conspired to prevent by force, intimidation or threat (Stamm and Humaran) from discharging their duties and/or hindering, impeding or interrupting their official duties and/or conspiring to deprive the plaintiffs of their constitutionally-protect rights.”

Jensen, Spencer and Overman, the complaint alleges, “acted recklessly or in willful regard of the plaintiffs’ statutory and constitutional rights.”

Jenson declined to comment.

 

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