Councilman strip-searched for using profanity in complaint to police
A city councilman in Pennsylvania has filed a federal lawsuit against Gilberton mayor Mary Lou Hannon and police chief Mark Kessler after being arrested and strip-searched for using profanity in a voicemail.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed the lawsuit (PDF) Thursday on behalf of Gilberton Borough Councilman Robert Wagner.
“My choice of language was unfortunate, arising from frustration due to the lack of response from law enforcement to my previous requests for assistance.” Wagner said.
“I was shocked by the arrest, and have endured humiliation and constant attack on my character. I am proceeding with this lawsuit to ensure that this never happens to me again or to anyone else in our small, quaint, coal-mining community.”
Wagner left a profanity-laced voicemail on Chief Kessler’s voicemail last summer in which he complained that several teenagers were loudly racing quads and dirt bikes in front of his house.
He also called Mayor Hannon and left a similar profanity-laced voicemail describing his frustration with the unruly teens in his neighborhood.
The following day, Chief Kessler arrested Wagner at his home on two counts of misdemeanor harassment and took him to Schuylkill County Prison, where he was processed and strip searched.
The charges against Wagner were later dismissed.