LILBURN, Ga. - A local attorney has filed a lawsuit against the city of Lilburn after he said they assaulted and wrongly arrested him as he was leaving municipal court with his client.
"I was halfway out the building, out the door when the officers grabbed me from the back," Benjamin Von Schuch told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri. "And they turned and they threw me against the wall."
Von Schuch said on August 22, 2012 he was leaving court when Lilburn police approached his client asking to get his fingerprints. When Von Schuch intervened and said he'd already been printed at the jail they asked him to leave.
"They were going to get those fingerprints, there was nothing that was going to stop that. They were going to beat him up and hurt him if that's what it took,” Von Schuch said.
Von Schuch said he spoke with Lilburn's police chief but a lieutenant nearby shouted he was trespassing and rushed toward him. According to the police report, Von Schuch ignored orders to leave and began yelling, disturbing the court. He said he was walking away when officers grabbed him and threw him against a wall, seriously hurting his shoulder as they put him in cuffs.
"They were laughing about the fact that it was the first time they ever arrested an attorney. To them it was a joke," Von Schuch said.
In the lawsuit, Von Schuch said chief Bruce Hedley told him he could "do this the easy way or the hard way" before releasing him with a disorderly conduct citation. He said he fought that citation in city court for a year and a half and the city tried to make a deal with him.
"They offered to dismiss my criminal charges and not send me to jail if I agreed not to sue them," Von Schuch said.
He refused and the case went to the Gwinnett County Solicitor's Office which dismissed the charges.
"Taxpayers paid to aggressively go after me for a crime that was not committed," Von Schuch said. "To cover up for what the city did."
Lilburn City Manager Bill Johnsa sent a statement to Channel 2 Action News regarding the lawsuit:
“By virtue of a press release, the City of Lilburn is aware of the complaint filed on behalf of Mr. Von Schuch. The City takes great pride in the professionalism of our staff and look forward to providing factual information as we defend our City and employees in this matter.”