CourtGavel

A Peters Township police officer is being sued in federal court by an Eighty Four resident who said the officer used a Taser on him when he was taking his dog to a McMurray veterinary facility in March.

According to the suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Harold Wise was taking his Labrador puppy, Abbey, to the veterinary hospital’s emergency and critical care department on March 25 when he was pulled over by Officer Richard Boczek on Route 19. Wise told Boczek that he was taking the dog to the veterinary facility and the animal was in the midst of a life-threatening emergency.

Wise got back into his car and Boczek followed him. When Wise reached the veterinary facility, Boczek used a Taser twice on Wise “without provocation or reasonable cause,” the suit says, and Wise was handcuffed by the officer. After the incident, Wise was taken to a nearby hospital for “physical and emotional injuries caused by (Boczek’s) conduct.”

The dog survived, according to Pittsburgh attorney Timothy O’Brien, who is representing Wise.

Douglas Grimes, Peters Township’s police chief, was unavailable for comment. The suit contends that Wise’s constitutional rights were violated due to an excessive use of force and governmental action that was arbitrary and capricious. The suit is seeking an unspecified amount of compensatory or punitive damages.

“There wasn’t a valid reason for Mr. Wise to have been tasered,” O’Brien said. Traffic citations were issued against Wise as a result of the incident.

Staff Writer

Brad Hundt came to the Observer-Reporter in 1998 after stints at newspapers in Georgia and Michigan. He serves as editorial page editor, and has covered the arts and entertainment and worked as a municipal beat reporter.

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