On July 25, 1990, police officer Kenan Kaizer saw 31-year-old Richard McIntyre drinking a beer when he got out of his car to go into a convenience store in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Kaizer checked and discovered that McIntyre’s driver’s license was suspended. So when McIntyre came out of the store and drove off in his car, Kaizer stopped him and attempted to arrest him for driving with a suspended license. A scuffle ensued and McIntyre punched Kaizer in the face.
McIntyre was charged with felony assault and went to trial in Burleigh County Circuit Court in June 1991. McIntyre testified that he was acting in self-defense after Kaizer attacked him—a claim that Kaizer denied. McIntyre’s attorney sought to cross-examine Kaizer about a pending lawsuit filed by another person who alleged that Kaizer used excessive force to arrest him. The judge refused to allow the evidence about the other case because that case was based on “unfounded allegations.”
On June 28, 1991, a jury convicted McIntyre of assault. He was sentenced to 14 months in prison, but all except the first 60 days were suspended for two years.
In June 1992, the North Dakota Supreme Court reversed the conviction and ordered a new trial. The court ruled that the judge had given erroneous jury instructions and erroneously excluded the evidence of Kaizer’s use of excessive force in the other case.
“The circumstances of the altercation between Kaizer and McIntyre were in dispute,” the court stated. “So, evidence of Kaizer’s character for using excess force was admissible.”
On November 19, 1992, the Burleigh County District Attorney’s office dismissed the case.
– Maurice Possley