PORTLAND, Maine — Arrested in front of his kids after a dispute with a bus driver, a Waterboro man is now suing the York County Sheriff’s Office for wrongful arrest.
Gold Mine Trail is a private road in Waterboro. In January last year, Caleb Gaul confronted a bus driver who had parked there, but he didn’t think asking the driver to move the bus would result in him going to jail.
Gaul said he had just plowed his private road.
“I had gotten out and asked the bus driver to move, he had refused,” Gaul said.
Gaul feared his wife’s minivan would slide, crashing into the bus. He couldn’t make it back up the hill, so he parked his truck in front of the bus so he could walk back up to warn his wife not to drive down. The bus driver called police, and a York County Sheriff’s Deputy arrived.
“He asked me to throw my hands in the air, ‘Freeze, throw your hands in the air, identify yourself.’ He asked me a couple questions and he spent about 20 minutes talking to the bus driver, and he ended up cuffing me in front of my kids and throwing me in the cop car,” Gaul said.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on Gaul’s behalf. It claims Gaul followed the deputy’s order to move his truck, but that deputy still arrested Gaul.
“I actually told him he didn’t have the right to arrest me,” Gaul said.
Gaul was charged with obstructing government administration.
“Those charges would result in just a summons to court at best,” Gaul said. “There’s absolutely no need for him to throw cuffs on me and take me down to jail.”
Gaul’s charges were thrown out, but it was what happened to him in jail that he says was unnecessary and humiliating, and why he’s also suing the jail.
“They took me in a room with two officers and strip me down naked, and did a whole, you know, anal cavity check; ‘cough, spread the cheeks’ kind of a thing,” Gaul said.
Gaul believes the whole situation could have been avoided if everyone had more carefully assessed the situation.
“One thing that could have gone better that day for all parties involved is better communication skills,” Gaul said.
And it’s what Gaul has to communicate that he’s most worried about now. He says he has to report to his business clients that he was arrested.
CBS 13 reached out to York County Sheriff Bill King about Gaul’s claims.
King said they don’t comment on open litigation.