A case of mistaken identity allegedly led to Robert Gross, 76, being tasered six times by police in a Wal-Mart parking lot.
Robert Gross has filed a lawsuit in federal court against three Berks Lehigh Regional police officers because of the incident.
According to the lawsuit, on August 21, 2012, Gross drove his brother, Carl Gross Sr., to see his granddaughter at an Allentown hair salon. When Carl did not return after 10 minutes, Robert decided to walk to a nearby phone store.
As he got out of his truck, two Berks Lehigh police officers reportedly began shouting and screaming at him. They then allegedly threw Robert to the ground, and he landed on his chest. When he questioned why they were doing this, they replied: “You know.”
Robert was then tasered six times by the officers.
The officers handcuffed Robert and put him in the back of their police cruiser. At this time, Robert saw another set of police officers arresting his brother, Carl.
The events occurred because police received a call from Robert Gross’ nephew, Carl Gross Jr., claiming his father, Carl Gross, Sr., was dangerous and causing trouble in the hair salon, reports WFMZ.
Robert Gross was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
During Robert’s bench trial his lawyer, Kathryn Elizabeth Roberts, argued that “the cops mistook him (Robert) for his brother and tried to take him into custody.”
“They didn’t dispute that they tasered him. They didn’t dispute that he got slammed face down to the ground,” Roberts said.
As for the officers, they “were very adamant that Mr. (Robert) Gross was argumentative and belligerent and trying to punch them,” Roberts said.
The lawsuit claims Robert suffered extreme chest pain after the incident. It also says he feared he was going to die from the pain.
Robert Gross is seeking more than $50,000 in damages, plus interest and other costs. The lawsuit alleges assault, battery, and deprivation of his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.