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CHEYENNE — A Cheyenne man is suing three Cheyenne police officers in federal court for allegedly violating his civil rights, after a municipal court judge ruled that one of the officers lied to a judge about the man’s refusal to take a blood alcohol level test.

Michael A. Sena of Cheyenne brought the suit against Officer Alberto Perea, Officer Damon Hall and Sgt. James Peterson, who are all currently employed by the Cheyenne Police Department. The suit also includes the city of Cheyenne as a defendant.

On Oct. 30, 2019, the CPD officers arrested Sena on suspicion of driving under the influ- ence of alcohol after testing his blood alcohol level with a Breathalyzer. In an amended complaint filed in February, Sena alleges he then consented to a urine test, but refused a blood test.

After that, Sena claims he was used “as a training object so that an inexperienced officer could learn how to obtain a telephone search warrant.” The same officer, Perea, gave a judge false information under oath, and, while being observed by Hall and Peterson, said Sena had refused both a urine and blood test.

On March 30, 2020, Cheyenne Municipal Court Judge Tony Ross ordered the resulting blood draw be suppressed as evidence in Sena’s DUI case, according to court documents. In the order, Ross said the blood draw was invalid because Officer Perea failed to give Sena the option to perform either a urine or blood test, as required by state statute, and was not truthful in his conversation with the judge to get the search warrant for the forced blood draw.

The DUI charge was dismissed for insufficient evidence, and Sena paid a $750 fine for careless driving, according to a municipal court clerk.

Under Wyoming statute, “if the officer directs that the (blood alcohol content) test be of the person’s blood or urine, the person may choose whether the test shall be of blood or urine.” According to the complaint, Wyoming law and CPD procedure say a warrant to obtain a blood draw is only allowed when a person has also refused to give a urine sample.

The officers then used the invalid search warrant to take Sena to the hospital against his will, and physically assaulted him in an effort to take a blood sample without his consent, according to the complaint, which alleges that the officers’ actions violated Sena’s Fourth Amendment rights protecting against unreasonable search and seizure.

Without a valid search warrant, the involuntary blood draw is considered unreasonable search and seizure based on clearly established law, the complaint says.

Sena’s 14th Amendment right to due process was also violated, the complaint says, because although Sena does not have a criminal history, “the officers treated him differently from other citizens in similar situations, solely because members of Sena’s family previously had committed crimes in which Michael Sena had no involvement.”

The amended complaint also alleges that inadequate training by the Cheyenne Police Department, and therefore the city of Cheyenne, led to the invalid search warrant and resulting violations of Sena’s civil rights. Sena and his attorneys added the city to the lawsuit following the officers’ answers to the initial complaint, saying the officers “directly or indirectly have asserted that their deprivation of Sena’s civil rights was a result of the unconstitutional policies and procedures of, and the inadequate training provided by, the city of Cheyenne as implemented by the Cheyenne Police Department.”

Sena is seeking $500,000 in damages, or a greater amount determined at trial.

In an answer to the amended complaint filed in March, the officers denied the allegations and any violation of state or federal law, saying Perea “lawfully and properly requested a search warrant” from the judge. They admitted Sena refused a blood test, but denied that he consented to a breath or urine test.

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