Sewickley Heights Dispatcher Sues Coraopolis, Moon for Wrongful Arrest
The Moon resident's lawsuit claims he was falsely arrested for selling drugs in Coraopolis.
A Sewickley Heights police dispatcher has filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming he was falsely arrested and jailed by Coraopolis police on drug charges.
Moon resident Jason Cercone, 29, names Coraopolis police, its Chief Alan DeRusso and Officer Albert Marxs; Moon police and its Detective Brian Buydasz; as well as Moon Township and Coraopolis Borough in the lawsuit filed on Thursday.
Cercone alleges that police confused him with another man when they arrested him for selling drugs on April 10. The charges were withdrawn days after his arrest.
In the suit, Cercone said he was approached by Chief DeRusso and Officer Marx in the parking lot of the Sewickley Heights police station, where he has worked as a dispatcher for six years.
Police placed him under arrest on drug charges, according to court documents.
But police had a warrant for a different man named Jason Cercone, who resides in South Heights, according to the lawsuit.
"(Cercone) told the police that he never lived in a South Heights trailer park," but "Defendants Marx and DeRusso made no further inquiry, and did not attempt to determine whether they had arrested the right person," according to the suit.
According to the suit, Chief DeRusso told Cerone's relative that he "confessed to selling drugs when questioned by Coraopolis police on that date." Cercone has denied that he confessed to any wrongdoing.
The suit claims Buydasz told Coraopolis police that he saw Cercone making a drug sale.
Moon Police Chief Leo McCarthy told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the detective has met with Cercone's attorney "to make it clear that Cercone is not the person Buydasz saw" in the drug sale.
Cercone was taken to the Allegheny County Jail following his arrest. Charges against him were dropped April 17 in Coraopolis District Court, according to court documents.
The lawsuit claims Cercone has suffered "mental anguish, embarrassment, humiliation, loss of pleasure in life and emotional distress," as a result of the alleged mix-up. He was suspended from his dispatch position with Sewickley Heights Police until the charges were dropped.
He is requesting a jury trial as well as $75,000 in damages and reimbursement of court costs in the lawsuit.