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Friday, July 12, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Cops’ Lies Cost Him Three Years, Man Says

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (CN) - A man claims in Federal Court that he spent more than three years in jail because two city police officers lied about seeing him "run from a stolen car".

Douglas Hervey Jr. sued St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officers Drew Werninger and Sheresa Absher. Hervey claims he spent 39 months prison until "a recently disclosed dispatch tape" showed that the officers lied.

"Late one night Douglas Hervey Jr. saw vehicles in the alley behind his house," the complaint states. "Moments later defendant officers arrested him for stealing a car. Plaintiff spent 39 months in jail. The city attorney then dropped the charges.

"A recently disclosed dispatch tape reveals that defendant officers made up that they saw plaintiff run from a stolen car and dash into his house. In fact, the tape shows that the officers first lost sight of the car and then when they regained sight of the car its doors were open and it appeared abandoned. No officer saw plaintiff run from the car."

Hervey claims Officers Werninger and Absher lied under oath about what they saw in 2008. He claims the officers said, falsely, that they got a good look at the driver and the passenger of the stolen vehicle, that Hervey and the other person in Hervey's house looked like the occupants of the vehicle, and that they saw Hervey run from the car.

The vehicle was ditched in an alley behind Hervey's house. Hervey claims the officers arrested him after they saw him and his cousin looking out his back window after the lights on their police car caught his attention.

Aside from the jail time, Hervey says, he suffered fear, humiliation, anxiety, stress, mental suffering, indignity, disgrace, fear of the police and insomnia. He says he also lost $17,000 in disability benefits and $10,000 in personal property due to his incarceration.

Werninger and Absher are sued in their individual capacities. The St. Louis Police Department is not named as a defendant.

Hervey seeks punitive damages for false arrest, false testimony and due process violations. He is represented by W. Bevis Schock.

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