Man Handcuffed, Shocked With Taser After Reporting Father Missing to St. Ann Police

ST. LOUIS – A federal lawsuit filed here Tuesday claims St. Ann police handcuffed, used a Taser on and criminally charged a man who was trying to report his elderly father missing.

Brian Little, 50, of Bridgeton, is seeking unspecified damages from the city and four officers for excessive force, violating his rights, assault and battery and false prosecution.

The incident began on Jan. 17, 2015, after Little’s 77-year-old father, who lived in an assisted living home in St. Ann, wandered away in St. Louis.

Little reported his father missing to St. Louis police, the assisted living center and St. Ann police, the suit says. The home contacted St. Ann police, who issued a “silver alert,” and police asked Little to come in to file a missing person report, the suit says.

Because Little had no transportation, a dispatcher sent an officer to pick him up.

By the time officers Anthony Marsala and Martin Everett arrived, Little had found a ride with a neighbor, the suit says. Marsala then searched Little, and both officers asked what Little “had done with his father,” the suit says.

They then handcuffed Little and took him to the police station while other officers searched his house without a warrant or Little’s consent, the suit says.

After Little’s wife got home, they refused her demand to leave, leaving only when she called 911 and another police department arrived, the suit says.

Although Little was still handcuffed, he was tackled and shocked with a Taser upon arrival at the St. Ann Police Department and later charged with assaulting officers and resisting arrest, the suit says.

The police report says that a nursing home staffer said that Little was acting “very odd” and police handcuffed him because he was “agitated” when they arrived.

The report says Little’s son gave permission to search the house.

It says Little became “vulgar and more agitated” in the car. He shoved a police lieutenant and Marsala when he got out, and then elbowed and scratched the officers before another officer used a Taser to take him to the ground, the report says.

Little’s wife was interviewed at the police station and said her father-in-law became agitated and walked away while they were running errands, and was probably picked up by a friend.

Little’s father, who suffers from dementia, was found the next day. He told police he’d walked off after arguing with Little and stayed the night with a friend.

The lawsuit quotes police Capt. Adrian Barry as saying an internal affairs “investigation determined that the officers involved acted improperly and there was a breakdown in communication during this incident.”