WATCH: Excessive Force Lawsuit Filed Against Waterloo Police Chief and Officer

WATERLOO, Iowa – A lawsuit has been filed against the Waterloo Police Department for use of excessive force.

The lawsuit against Waterloo Police Chief Dan Trelka and Officer Adam Wittmayer alleges the officer used excessive force during a 2016 arrest and Chief Trelka failed to prevent the incident.

In April of 2016, Montavis Keller led multiple agencies, including the Waterloo Police and Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, on a high-speed chase in and around Waterloo’s east side.

Keller crashed his car into a home on Lafayette Street, after driving over stop sticks laid out by Waterloo Police.

Body and dash-cam video, released months after the incident, shows Keller attempting to run after the crash and then surrendering to a sheriff’s deputy.

The deputy, along with two other Waterloo Officers, held Keller down and handcuffed him.

Then another officer, identified as Officer Adam Wittmayer, ran up.

You can see Wittmayer yank on Keller’s dreadlocks several times while using vulgar language to call Keller names.

Officer Adam Wittmayer is also seen hitting Keller in the head.

This incident, along with others that followed, are detailed in the lawsuit below.

Keller’s lawyer, Thomas Frerichs, alleges Officer Wittmayer used unnecessary force after Keller was already in custody.

“Defendant Wittmayer used force in a manner that was disproportionate to the force necessary to arrest Keller. A reasonable officer, in Defendant Wittmayer’s position, would have known, in light of clearly established law, that their use of force in this situation violated Keller’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.”

The lawsuit also alleges Chief Trelka failed to protect Keller’s rights through such things as officer training.

“Defendant Trelka, a final policymaker for the City of Waterloo’s Police Department, had in effect, both before and at the time of the events alleged in this Petition; policies, practices, customs, and procedures which operated to deprive Keller of his constitutional rights and were the moving force behind the violation of his rights and constituted deliberate indifference as attributable to Defendant City of Waterloo itself as alleged in this claim.”

When the video was first released, Chief Trelka told KWWL that Officer Wittmayer had received a “quite significant discipline” for his actions.

The case was also reviewed by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. Special Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown decided not to charge Wittmayer because of Keller’s actions leading up to the arrest.

This all comes after several similar lawsuits were settled by the city following incidents of police brutality between 2013 and 2015.

Wittmayer was not named in any of the previous lawsuits.


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