Moments after being acquitted of trespassing, Brent Stafford's lawyer said his client may file a lawsuit against the city of St. Peters.
Now, more than nine months after St. Peters Municipal Judge Donald Kohl acquitted Stafford, the Ron Paul-supporter filed suit against the city and a police officer in federal court on Monday. Stafford is claiming false arrest, malicious prosecution and the violation of his Constitutional rights, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Stafford, 45, of O'Fallon, was arrested after things got out of control at a March 2012 St. Charles County GOP caucus. After a rules disagreement, St. Peters Police attempted to clear Francis Howell North High School and close the caucus. Stafford remained in the parking lot, trying to reconvene a meeting he said was improperly shut down, standing on a chair.
During his trial in July 2012, officers said that they did not order him to leave as he was standing on the chair, but arrested him for disobeying orders to leave, and they felt everyone knew they were to leave the area. Police arrested Stafford and charged him with trespassing.
After Stafford was cleared of any wrongdoing, his attorney, David Roland of the Freedom Center of Missouri, thanked a group of supporters outside the St. Peters Justice Center and said the court battle may have just begun.
“This issue has not been finally resolved. He’s just been vindicated,” Roland said at the time. “Now that we’ve established that he was wrongfully arrested, Brent Stafford has the right to file a lawsuit for violating his constitutional rights in being arrested.”
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the suit alleges the St. Charles County Republican Central Committee conspired against Stafford. The suit claims the group was alarmed at the large pro-Ron Paul crowd and engaged in activities to shut down Paul's chances. The suit said that attendees were told they would be arrested if they stayed inside the building, however, no one who stayed inside was arrested.
Stafford, who could have stayed inside as a member of the committee, went outside and was arrested. A St. Peters Police Officer, Tim Hickey, ordered Stafford's arrest, according to the suit. Stafford was detained for three hours and charged, but was ultimately acquitted in July.
Stafford and the rest of the Paul supporters dominated the new caucus. Stafford was chosen as the chair of the event and Paul swept the delegates.
For more information on the issue, see the following articles:
Ron Paul Campaign Leader Pleads Not Guilty to Caucus Trespassing Charge
- Judge: Stafford Not Guilty of Trespassing After Republican Caucus
- Ron Paul Sweeps St. Charles County Caucus Redo
- Ron Paul Supporters Say St. Charles County Caucus Organizers Flouted Rules
- Two People Arrested at Francis Howell North High School Caucus