No financial compensation for man who filed suit against two PA Game Commission officers

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HARRISBURG — A Spring Grove man who filed suit against two officers of the Pennsylvania Game Commission will not receive financial compensation.

On Wednesday, a jury found that Wildlife Conservation Officers Steven Knickel and Kevin Clouser did not violate the civil rights of Michael Kern, who claimed that the two used excessive force against him and arrested him without probable cause in 2013. United States District Judge John E. Jones III, who presided over the case, signed off on the jury’s verdict.

The lawsuit stemmed from an incident in December of that year left Kern with wrist and shoulder injuries, he claims.

According to court documents, Kern was summoned from work by the officers after a hunter was found in a deer blind in his property — officers allowed the hunter to go free before Kern was seen. When Kern arrived, he provided Officer Knickel with his driver’s license which contains all the necessary information to complete a summary game law violation and told the two officers that he did not want to speak with law enforcement regarding it.

Kern refused to answer any more questions and when he walked toward the hunter, on his property, Officer Knickel allegedly told Officer Clouser to handcuff Kern. Clouser charged him and tackled Kern to the ground, the lawsuit claims. Both officers then forcefully grabbed Kern’s hands behind his back and placed him in handcuffs, court documents states.

Kern was cited with three summary violations. He was eventually found not guilty of all summary violations.

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