Crime

Officer wins suit filed by neighbor

A Fresno police officer was cleared Wednesday of wrongdoing by a federal jury after a neighbor filed a civil rights lawsuit that accused him of harassment.

The 8-0 decision by a federal civil jury -- which also cleared the city of Fresno -- is the latest saga in a long-running feud between Brian Twedt, the officer, and his neighbor, Holly Louen, who for years lived across the street from each other in an upscale, gated north Clovis subdivision.

"Brian Twedt has been accused of an awful lot of things he didn't do," said his attorney, Gregory Myers. "The verdict in his favor in this case was a very emotional thing for him. For me, it was a vindication of him."

Louen's November 2004 lawsuit accused Twedt of an "ongoing pattern of threats and intimidation."

Earlier that year, Fresno County Superior Court Judge R.L. Putnam had granted a restraining order for Louen against Twedt, finding there was "clear and convincing evidence" that Twedt -- while on duty and off -- had intimidated her.

Because of the ruling, the law required Twedt to give up his police gun, but a provision allowed him to petition the court to retain the use of his weapon after undergoing a psychological evaluation.

Twedt agreed to the exam, and Putnam permitted him to keep his gun.

Court records say troubles between Brian and Vickie Twedt and Holly and Michael Louen date to the 1990s.

The federal court lawsuit alleged that Louen's dispute with Twedt began after she lodged an internal affairs complaint against him with the Fresno Police Department.

In the lawsuit, Louen alleged, among other things, that she was leaving her subdivision when Twedt -- in uniform and on his department-issued motorcycle -- also came out of the subdivision and accelerated past her. She said he pulled into a driveway and "glared" at her as she passed.

The lawsuit also alleged that Twedt verbally assaulted her, deliberately refused to proceed through an intersection at a green light to block her and her husband and prevented her from parking at her son's school.

Fresno attorney Kevin Little, who represented Louen, could not be reached to comment Wednesday. Louen and Twedt also could not be reached to comment.

James Weakley, the lawyer who represented the city of Fresno in the civil trial before U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger, said the verdict clears not only the city, but Twedt as well.

"I think Brian's going to be a whole lot happier tonight," Weakley said. "This unanimous federal jury has finally vindicated him."

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