By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A man is suing the town of Evansville and multiple police officers for beating, tasing, pepper spraying and arresting him without probable cause or reasonable suspicion.
Brandon Wuebker is seeking an unspecified amount in financial compensation for damages he suffered in the May 2018 arrest.
According to documents filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, Wuebker was being driven home by a friend on the evening of May 20, 2018. A woman was in the passenger seat and Wuebker was in the back.
Evansville Police Officer Bryce Norcross, who was named as a defendant in the lawsuit, pulled the vehicle Wuebker’s friend was driving over and claimed the driver failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign.
Norcross obtained identification from all three passengers. The court documents argued that while the stop was routine and no one in the vehicle had outstanding warrants or done anything suspicious, two more officers arrived in support of Norcross.
The driver was given a field sobriety test while Wuebker and the woman passenger stayed in the vehicle.
At the beginning of the encounter, Wuebker informed the officers that he needed to use the bathroom and asked permission to do so at a nearby gas station.
He began to exit the car in attempt to walk to the restroom, but the two officers who had recently arrived “aggressively” ordered him to stay in the car and informed him that he was not free to leave.
Evansville Sgt. Luke Nelson, one of the two officers to arrive later on scene and who was named as a defendant in the case, was apparently annoyed by minor protests made by the female passenger, who allegedly called the officer a[n] “[expletive] pig” and another term that is not publishable.
Nelson then apparently declared his intention to “[expletive] these people up,” the lawsuit said.
Wuebker also ordered out of the vehicle and told he was under arrest.
“Mr. Wuebker was very confused by the conflicting orders being yelled at him,” the court documents said.
The officers then attempted to force Wuebker out of the two-door vehicle. Without warning, one of them pepper-sprayed Wuebker, then grabbed the man and “violently” dragged him out of the car.
As this was happening, the other officer fired his taser into Wuebker’s chest.
The officers also slammed Wuebker headfirst onto the road pavement, the lawsuit said, which caused a “gaping head wound.” The officer again deployed his Taser into Wuebker, this time into his back.
He allegedly told Wuebker if the man moved at all, the officer would again tase him.
McGraw also kneed Wuebker in the ribs, the lawsuit said. Photos taken from the officers’ body camera footage shown Wuebker bleeding on the ground. According to the court documents, it was later found that Wuebker suffered a concussion due to the encounter and a wound that required stitches.
“Although Mr. Wuebker was not resisting arrest and presented no threat to anyone after he was slammed to the ground, all three defendant officers went hands on to forcibly and aggressively detain him,” the court documents said.
Wuebker was later taken to the Natrona County Detention Center and charged with obstructing a peace officer.
In February 2019, the charge against Wuebker was dismissed.
Wuebker’s attorneys argued that the town of Evansville failed to properly train, supervise and discipline its officers, which led to his encounter in May 2018.