Harrison McLean writhed in pain as his wife, Lindsay, drove him to the Kootenai Health emergency room last summer following an allergic stomach reaction.
Before the 29-year-old Army veteran and National Guardsman could get in front of a doctor, though, the McLeans were in police custody, each accused of assaulting law enforcement in the ER’s waiting room.
Both face possible felony convictions when they go to trial in June. They’ve refused plea deals, including one that would have amended the charge to a misdemeanor along with a fine and a year of probation, adamantly citing excessive use of force.
“We thought that this would have been relieved once the prosecutors saw the videos and read the police reports and saw the discrepancies in the police reports,” said Lindsay McLean, who came to the hospital after celebrating an anniversary with friends. “But there was never any movement.”
The late-night Aug. 27 incident – one involving a couple with no prior criminal records and an officer respected in his department, each side blaming the other for the escalation – began when hospital staff suspected Lindsay McLean of driving drunk after she drove into the ER entry the wrong way, subsequently giving up her keys.
When Jacob Proctor, one of two responding officers to the DUI call, walked into the lobby after speaking to the reporting receptionist, he approached the woman, who was speaking to officer Emily Taylor as Harrison McLean sat in a chair.
“We’ll be back here tomorrow to get my keys; we haven’t done anything wrong. I’m looking out for my husband’s well-being,” Lindsey McLean says to Proctor, as captured by police body camera footage and hospital surveillance video.
Proctor reported smelling alcohol on the woman’s breath and other signs of intoxication, and had received witness statements that she was believed to be drunk.
“OK, here’s the deal, because you’ve already driven here and you’ve been drinking, I need to make sure you’re OK to drive,” Proctor says to Lindsay, who says, “Nope,” while pointing toward a friend outside claiming to have a ride home.
“Are you going to refuse … or perform …” Proctor continues just before Lindsay McLean again says, “Nope,” and begins to walk away.
Proctor immediately grabs the woman’s left arm and tells her she is under arrest. “What are you doing? No,” Lindsay says. The two struggle, and in the process Lindsay’s dress is lifted, exposing her buttocks. Both the officer and woman fall toward a row of lobby chairs. .
This prompted Harrison McLean to abruptly lunge out of his chair and toward Proctor – a sturdy 6-foot-6 former college basketball player – before going to the ground, latching onto the officer’s legs, Lindsay screaming in the background and reportedly being resistant with Taylor.
“Let go of my legs,” Proctor tells Harrison. “Stop resisting!” Police would later report that Harrison had thrown a punch while cursing at Proctor.
Proctor is immediately joined by two male security guards, who attempt to hold Harrison down. Proctor said that because the man was still latched onto his upper legs – and just inches from his police belt, according to his police captain – he punched Harrison multiple times in the ribs so he’d let go.
Harrison, also accused of ripping off officer Taylor’s radio in the scrap, denies using a closed fist on Proctor, who he said used unnecessary physical force against his wife. He also believes being punched on the ground was unwarranted, claiming he let go of Proctor once he let go of his wife.
“It was violent, completely uncalled for,” Harrison said of Proctor’s attempt to arrest Lindsay. “And with the most nonviolent means I believe I had – an open hand – put a stop to it, and was treated as a felon for it.”
The McLeans say they still have respect for law enforcement but believe Proctor “jumped the gun” and unnecessarily escalated a controlled situation, claiming the other officer, Taylor, was about to let them leave.
“It was absolutely terrifying putting hands on a police officer. It’s not a fun thing to have to do, but I felt more of a need to protect my spouse than anything else,” Harrison McLean said. “I understand the severity of getting physical with a law enforcement officer, but there are two sides to every scenario and I still have the right to protect those important to me if they’re in danger.”
Lindsay McLean, who was arrested for battery of an officer, resisting police and DUI test refusal, said the only reason the police were called was because she and the receptionist got into a verbal altercation that started when, she claims, a receptionist allegedly made a condescending remark about Harrison’s medical condition.
She said she believes there was a level of suspicion that she had been drinking but was never told directly she was facing a DUI. She was appalled that her husband was struck repeatedly in the stomach, since his stomach was the reason he was at the hospital. In one video, she can be heard screaming he is in critical condition.
Coeur d’Alene Police Captain Dave Hagar, who said his department never received a use of force complaint from this incident, said Proctor had probable cause in his initial interaction with the woman.
“He’d already established probable cause. The last confirmation was whether she’d do a sobriety test,” Hagar said. “Based on witness statements, what he saw, he already knew he’d place her under arrest. She said she was walking out of there, and we can’t allow that to happen.”
McLean, who said her arms were severely bruised, said she had four beers over an eight-hour period before driving to the hospital. Proctor wrote in his police report that she failed a field sobriety test after being questioned at Kootenai County Jail, where the couple spent two days.