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Excessive use of force suit against game warden dismissed

By Joe Beck

An excessive force lawsuit filed by a New Market man against a law enforcement officer that he is accused of injuring in a fight has been dismissed.

Andrew Wayne Stroop's case against Owen Heine, a game warden with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, dissolved when the plaintiff failed to file an amended complaint to his lawsuit.

Stroop is facing a charge of assault and battery against Heine in a case arising from a fight in which Heine suffered a broken finger on his right hand.

Authorities say a long fight broke out between Heine and Stroop, 25, of 9583 Shenandoah Drive, on Dec. 18 when Heine discovered an outstanding arrest warrant had been issued against Stroop in Rockingham County.

Heine had initially encountered Stroop while responding to a report of an overdue hunter near the intersection of Moreland Gap Road and Dogwood Trail. Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Brent Lutz joined Heine in trying to subdue Stroop, according to testimony at a preliminary hearing.

In his lawsuit, Stroop asked for $500,000 in damages suffered during the fight.

Stoop claimed that Heine approached him and "verbally abused" him and inflicted "physical harm" to his shoulders and back that required hospitalization.

Heine's attorney, Assistant Attorney General Paul Kugelman Jr., replied in court documents that Stroop had complained of a broken wrist and was taken to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital.

"Medical tests revealed that Stroop had not suffered any breaks and that he was under the influence of meth during the arrest," Kugelman wrote.

Kugelman argued in court documents that Stroop had no legal basis for his lawsuit.

Stroop "hopes the court will disregard its experience and conclude that Officer Heine appeared out of the blue and began asking Stroop . . . if he had any outstanding warrants and to then verbally and physically assault Stroop for no reason," Kugelman wrote.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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