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Grand Forks police officer sentenced in cold weather case

A Grand Forks police officer was sentenced to 40 hours of community service and two years of unsupervised probation this afternoon for his involvement in leaving a man in dangerously cold weather.

A jury found Officer David O'Toole guilty of reckless endangerment last month. O'Toole and another officer both faced the same charge after Jason Hickman complained he had been left outside during a February traffic stop and suffered frostbite to his ears as a result. The other officer, who resigned several months after incident, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 hours community service and a year of unsupervised probation.

The city required O'Toole to serve a 60-day suspension and demoted him from the rank of master police officer to police officer following the incident. He currently works at the police department in an administrative capacity and does not carry a gun, according to Lt. Jim Remer.

Today, Judge Sonja Clapp did not decide whether O'Toole can carry a firearm while he is on probation. She said she would rule on that after the prosecution and defense submitted briefs on the issue.

That decision will have a significant bearing on what his future at the department will entail, Remer said.