Charges were filed and dismissed against a Centre County man who filed a lawsuit in August against the Grange Fair and 14 people.
Now he is suing the state trooper, Benjamin Clark, who charged him. Wayne A. Dreibelbis Jr. filed the second lawsuit Thursday in U.S. Middle District Court.
The lawsuits stem from an alleged incident Aug. 21, 2015, when Dreibelbis operated a drone at the fairgrounds. The act drew the ire of several employees who allegedly escalated the incident verbally and physically.
Clark responded to the incident at the Grange Fair where Dreibelbis was allegedly detained by security personnel. He interviewed security and Dreibelbis, who told him his version of events and also played a recording on his phone to show he was not “disruptive, disorderly, belligerent and aggressive” as security members had claimed.
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Dreibelbis left the fairgrounds after the interview with Clark, and the state trooper filed charges on Oct. 13, 2015. The lawsuit claims the case was “based on misrepresentation of fact and was unsustainable.”
At a Jan. 19, 2016, trial, Clark allegedly elicited false testimony from security members, according to court documents. District Judge Thomas Jordan dismissed the charges against Dreibelbis after being shown the cellphone recording.
The lawsuit against Clark alleges malicious prosecution, malicious abuse of process and violation of civil rights under the first and 14th amendments of the United States Constitution. The lawsuit has requested unspecified monetary damages.
The lawsuits said Grange Fair employees approached Dreibelbis in a “hurried and aggressive manner” due to his use of a drone.
Grange Fair trailer camp secretary George Witherite, who was named in the first lawsuit, allegedly plucked the drone from the air when Dreibelbis tried to land it, the lawsuit said, and caused damage to the machine. Witherite and several employees were allegedly “menacing” toward Dreibelbis and told him he could not operate a drone at the fairgrounds
Dreibelbis said in the first lawsuit he claimed he was allowed to operate the drone, but agreed to put the drone in his vehicle. As he put it away, Dreibelbis said the drone had been damaged, which allegedly caused the defendants to be “increasingly aggressive, boisterous and hostile.” He tried to leave the fairgrounds after the argument continued, but several employees allegedly surrounded his vehicle.
Dreibelbis said he got out of the vehicle and was tackled to the ground by several of the defendants, who said state police had been summoned.
The first lawsuit called the altercation an unprovoked case of assault and battery. It also alleged false imprisonment, trespass to personal property, intentional infliction of emotional distress, a violation of civil and first amendment rights against all defendants, civil conspiracy and concerted tortuous conduct against all defendants and alleges negligence by the Grange Fair.
Dreibelbis is seeking an amount of monetary damages in the first lawsuit that would “exceed the jurisdictional limits for arbitration, together with punitive damages, the costs of the suit” and further relief. The jurisdictional limit is $50,000.