A pastor who was allegedly assaulted and tasered at his home by police from Lebanon and Dodge City, Kan., in June 2009 now says that both towns violated his constitutional rights.


     A pastor who was allegedly assaulted and tasered at his home by police from Lebanon and Dodge City, Kan., in June 2009 now says that both towns violated his constitutional rights.
Last week attorneys filed an amended complaint on behalf of John Pulley, the pastor who sued Lebanon in federal court in March.
     The original complaint targeted only Lebanon, former Lebanon Police Chief Joseph Brauer and Officer Katie Darden. In the amended complaint filed on Sept. 13, Detective James Thompson of the Dodge City Police Department and Police Chief Craig Mellecker also are named, as is Dodge City.
     Dodge City officials had not received official notification of the lawsuit as of Friday afternoon and could not comment, said Jane Longmeyer, director of public information.
     The original two counts naming Lebanon and her officers are unchanged. Count 1 accuses Darden of using excessive force, making a false arrest and false imprisonment. The new Count 3 is nearly identical, accusing Thompson of the same thing.
     Count 2 alleges that Lebanon and Brauer failed to properly train and supervise Darden. Count 4 alleges that Dodge City and Mellecker are guilty of the same failures. Mellecker was not police chief in Dodge City when the incident with Pulley occurred, however. At the time, he was the chief of detectives for the department.
     All four counts seek punitive damages against the defendants and reimbursement of Pulley's attorney fees.
     Pulley is represented by Teresa Grantham of Carver, Cantin & Grantham LLC of Springfield.
Lebanon and its police are represented in the case by M. Douglas Harpool of Baird, Lightner, Millsap & Harpool P.C., a Springfield firm.
     The lawsuit alleges that Darden and Thompson came to Pulley's door on Fairfax Avenue on June 30, 2009. Mellecker told The Daily Record in July 2009 that the detective was seeking a witness in a 25-year-old murder investigation.
     That witness, who was named Teresa Pulley, turned out not to be the same person as Lebanon's Teresa Pulley, the wife of John Pulley.
     Thompson did the talking, explaining to John Pulley that he was looking for Teresa Pulley in connection with the murder investigation, according to the complaint.
     John Pulley told the detective and Darden that his wife was not home, the complaint said. Thompson allegedly accused John Pulley of lying.
     The lawsuit alleges that John Pulley attempted to come out his front door, but Thompson grabbed the door with his hand and said, "No, we're not going there."
     The detective again said he needed to talk to Teresa Pulley, and again John Pulley said she wasn't at home, said the complaint.
     John Pulley came out his front door, and the complaint said Thompson became irritated.
John Pulley allegedly asked Darden to "please get him out of here."
     The lawsuit says John Pulley took two steps toward Darden and was attempting to direct them to his wife's workplace when Thompson choked him from behind.
     John Pulley attempted to pull away, then fell still, according to the suit.
     Thompson allegedly flung him back and forth, then "held him up above his elbows, causing bruises," the complaint said.
     John Pulley was being held by both arms when Darden fired her taser at his chest, the suit alleges. After John Pulley collapsed, the detective allegedly put his foot on the pastor's back and ordered him to "stay down."
     John Pulley was handcuffed, and Thompson allegedly told him he should have answered the questions.
     The lawsuit claims that officers entered the Pulley home, and John Pulley was taken to the Laclede County Jail and incarcerated. John Pulley did not receive medical treatment for his injuries, according to the lawsuit.
     The incident with John Pulley also is part of a state lawsuit that was filed against Lebanon by the Missouri Attorney General's Office in early March.
     AG Chris Koster alleges that Lebanon did not comply with the state's open records law when the city refused to release documents related to the Fairfax Avenue incident that were requested by The Daily Record.
     The city's justification for keeping the records secret was that they were part of ongoing litigation. At the time the city refused to release the reports; however, no lawsuit had been filed related to the incident, and so they should have been open records, according to the AG's complaint in that lawsuit.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is reprinted with permission of the Lebanon Daily Record.