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Lawyer for woman in police altercation files suit against city of Superior

An attorney has filed a claim against the city of Superior seeking more than $50,000 in damages for Natasha Lancour, who was involved in an altercation with Superior police officer George Gothner in a liquor store parking lot in January.

The move by attorney Rick Gondik comes in the midst of a Douglas County Circuit Court case accusing Lancour, 28, of disorderly conduct for the incident at Keyport Liquor & Lounge on Jan. 5. Gothner’s use of force during Lancour’s arrest remains under review by special prosecutor Fred Bourg, the Bayfield County district attorney.

Although a number of decisions related to the incident remain up in the air, the filing is required by statute. Anyone expecting to pursue civil action against a municipality has 120 days from the event to provide written notice of the claim. Gondik said the action preserves his client’s right to possibly file a civil suit against the city. It’s a case of “speak now or forever hold your peace,” he said. By filing, he said, “At least we’re still in the game.”

The claim, submitted April 25, accuses Gothner of using excessive force by physically assaulting Lancour, grabbing her hair, slamming her face onto the hood of a squad car and slapping and punching her in the face before throwing her down on the ground. The incident was captured on a squad car’s video. According to the claim, Lancour suffered injuries for which she received medical care, and she now suffers from anxiety, nightmares, insomnia, fear and symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder as well as pain.

“Some people will think it’s about the money,” Gondik said. “This is actually about justice.”

He said part of her goal in filing the claim is to effect change in how city police officers conduct themselves.

The claim has not been reviewed by the city’s Claims Committee yet. It is expected to be on the agenda for the committee’s May 29 meeting, according to the city attorney’s office.