Nampa man who claimed police brutality in 2011 incident arrested for DUI

Lee Arthur Rice II
Lee Arthur Rice II

Lee Arthur Rice II, who alleges in a federal lawsuit that police used excessive force in pulling him out of his vehicle following an early morning traffic stop in 2011, was charged early Thursday with driving under the influence of intoxicants.

Rice, 63, was stopped by a Boise Police officer and taken to the Ada County Jail at 2:47 a.m. He was also charged with resisting or obstructing an officer and misdemeanor possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

He was arraigned Thursday and posted bond Friday, according to online court records. His next court date listed online is for Oct. 27.

Rice has a pending case in U.S. District Court in Boise alleging officers used “excessive and unnecessary force” in taking him into custody during a Dec. 26, 2011, stop on Interstate 84 between Boise and Nampa.

Idaho State Police Cpl. Janet Murakami, who stopped Rice in the 2011 incident, is accused of calling in a “life or death” Code 3 call for backup assistance after Rice refused to hand over his driver’s license and refused to get out of his car.

Seventeen officers from the Boise and Meridian police departments and the Ada County Sheriff’s Office responded to the car. Rice was forcefully removed from his car, taken down to the ground and handcuffed.

He claims he suffered permanent injuries and is seeking at least $100,000 in damages, along with punitive damages to be determined at trial.

Originally, Murakami and 17 other police officers were named in the lawsuit. Cases against 12 of the officers were later dismissed, leaving Murakami and five others.

Murakami and two deputies, Dale Morehouse and Nick Shaffer, have pretrial appeals pending with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They say their actions that morning were within normal police procedures and they should be given qualified immunity.

The claim against Murakami alleges that she knew in calling for a Code 3 assist that arriving officers would have assumed that Rice posed a serious threat to the trooper and needed to be taken down quickly and aggressively.

Morehouse and Shaffer are accused of twisting Rice’s arms while attempting to handcuff him.

Murakami argues that she was “fully justified” in calling for Code 3 backup. Her attorney said she was a female officer by herself, dealing with a large male suspect who had been angry, hostile and argumentative and who refused to hand over his license or get out of his car.

The attorney for the deputies says Rice has never provided evidence of his injuries and they shouldn’t be held liable.

A three-member panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the appeals Oct. 4 in Portland.

The lawsuit before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill has been on hold until those appeals have been settled.

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @IDS_Sowell