Several months after Hermann City Hall dropped its effort to prosecute a truck driver in state Circuit Court for a parking violation after its witness failed to show up, Wayne Gerling has begun his own legal action against the city — in U.S. District Court.
Gerling has filed a federal lawsuit against the city for alleged use of excessive force, wrongful prosecution and violation of his constitutional rights.
This action follows the city’s attempted prosecuting of Gerling for a parking violation five years ago involving his tractor-trailer rig, a personal visit to his home by a member of the Hermann Police Department and Gerling being shocked with the policeman’s taser in his home in front of family members.
City Patrolman Matthew Waite was the officer who tried to personally deliver a parking ticket to Gerling — rather than place it on the truck driver’s rig parked near his home.
That effort escalated into Waite entering Gerling’s residence and using his taser on the man in an effort to place him under arrest. Waite succeeded in taking Gerling to the Police Department where he was booked for resisting arrest.
The lawsuit also involves former Chief Frank Tennant,who Gerling alleges was determined to make charges stick against — according to a published report in the Riverfront Times of St. Louis.
Gerling fought the charge and insisted on a jury trial in Circuit Court. The case was prosecuted by the city’s Municipal Court prosecutor. When it came time for the trial, Waite, the city’s witness, was nowhere to be found.
The city was forced to dismiss the case against Gerling.
In his federal lawsuit, which was filed last Friday, Gerling argues that Waite had all the information he needed to issue a parking ticket to the trucker.
“Defendant Waite aggressively attempted to procure Mr. Gerling’s driver’s license. Defendant Waite intruded into Mr. Gerling’s home, reached around Mr. Gerling’s son-in-law and grabbed Mr. Gerling by the wrist,” the lawsuit claims.
“Defendant Waite never asked Mr. Gerling for his name or contact information before attacking him. In response to Defendant Waite’s unprovoked attack, Mr. Gerling retreated inside his home, followed by Defendant Waite who immediately drew his Taser.
“As Mr. Gerling attempted to retreat from the attack, Defendant Waite fired his Taser, striking Mr. Gerling in front of his son-in-law and 9-yaer-old grandson, forcing painful and debilitation electric shock through Mr. Gerling’s body and causing injury to Mr. Gerling,” the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit alleges excessive force, arrest without probable cause, prosecution without probably cause and deliberate indifference to the rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.
Mayor Robert Koerber said the matter had been turned over to the city’s insurance carrier and offered only brief comment.
“We don’t know too much about it,” he said, noting that the incident occurred several years ago.