Small towns and family feuds

It apparently will be quite a trial when a lawsuit against town officials on Madeline Island, Wis., goes to court — if it ever does.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that Tom Nelson, who runs the famous Burned Down Cafe on the quirky island, is suing town Police Chief William Defoe over an arrest last August.

It apparently stems from a longstanding feud with Nelson’s cousin, who demanded police arrest his kin after a minor traffic accident. His cousin, who happens to be in charge of the police department, ordered the police chief to arrest Nelson.

It didn’t go well.

Nelson got tasered in front of his family and taken to jail.

“Defoe’s new policing policies included authorization of the Town’s police officers to conduct warrantless home entries, and warrantless searches of persons alleged to have committed minor offenses, without probable cause or exigent circumstances,” Bayfield attorney Glenn Stoddard wrote in legal documents challenging the legality of the arrest.

If nothing else, the incident shows the value of body camera video when worn by police. Stoddard provided the video to the News Tribune.

Related: MPR News: Police body cameras reveal Minnesota life laid bare