Two Evansville police officers have denied beating up, tasing and arresting a man without probable cause during a traffic stop in 2018.
In court documents filed Thursday, Evansville Police Officer Bryce Norcross and Sgt. Luke Nelson both denied the allegations lobbed against them by Brandon Wuebker, an Evansville man who filed a lawsuit against the officers and the town earlier this year for what he claims was an unjust arrest.
According to documents filed in U.S. District Court, 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.
While Nelson and Norcross confirmed they did arrest Wuebker and his friends that night, they denied being aggressive with the passengers of the vehicle and affirmed their training was adequate to handle the situation.
Neither officer was disciplined for their behavior during the stop, they said in the lawsuit.
According to Wuebker’s original complaint against the officers, Norcross pulled the vehicle Wuebker’s friend was driving over and claimed the driver failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign.
The driver was given a field sobriety test while Wuebker and the woman passenger stayed in the vehicle.
According to Wuebker’s complaint, 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, the lawsuit said, but two officers who had arrived after the initial stop “aggressively” ordered him to stay in the car and informed him that he was not free to leave.
Later, Wuebker was ordered out of the vehicle and told he was under arrest, he claimed.
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, the complaint said.
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.
Photos taken from the officers’ body camera footage showed 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.
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.