The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

March 9, 2014

Lawyer claims defamation by Sleepy Eye police, newspaper

Lawsuit filed against Sleepy Eye, police, newspaper


In the criminal complaint, Bauer alleges he observed Kotten taking an "aggressive turn" and recorded him eventually reaching 90 mph. He said he was concerned Kotten was attempting to evade him. He said Kotten attempted to turn into a driveway, but his speed caused him to enter a ditch and strike a telephone pedestal.

Bauer reported Kotten said he was "trying to make it home" and that he lived at the residence. Bauer said Kotten admitted to seeing his lights and being unsure what do because he had never been stopped. Kotten denied speeding at the scene, according to the complaint.

Bauer claims Kotten said, "I was at the Railway and had two beers." The officer said he detected the odor of alcohol and that Kotten refused to take a breath test but passed a field sobriety test.

Kotten was later transported to the detox center in New Ulm.

Forfeiture papers were served on the vehicle Kotten was driving, which was registered to Charles Kotten of Sleepy Eye.

Kotten alleges Bauer maliciously fabricated the following facts: The "aggressive turn." The observed positions of the vehicles. What he said about the lights. Whether he crashed into a telephone pedestal.

Kotten claims defamation in his lawsuit because the disputed facts in the report harmed his reputation, which he says is essential for his ability to produce income.

In an interview, he said he was unsure of his speed when Bauer activated his lights. He said 90 mph would have been impossible given the road. He said he did not crash but instead drove slightly off the road when startled by the lights.

Kotten claims Bauer admitted under oath to lying about whether Kotten was intoxicated. He also claims he offered to take a breath test but was told a physical performance test would be sufficient. He claims audio and video evidence of his statement was destroyed and that Bauer lied about when his malfunctioning microphone was sent for repairs.

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