A former Gerald police officer is suing the city and two former chiefs for alleged civil rights violations and wrongful discharge.
The suit alleges that Andrew S. Rosenkoetter was terminated from his position as a police officer for working with county and federal authorities during an investigation, and refusing to help cover up links between the Gerald Police Department and a man who impersonated a federal officer.
In a civil suit filed on behalf of Andrew S. Rosenkoetter by attorney Frank Carlson, Union, the former officer is seeking punitive damages of $1 million for each of the two counts. Named in the suit are the city of Gerald, and former chiefs Clyde Zelch and Ryan McCrary.
Gerald Mayor Otis Schulte Tuesday told The Missourian that he was unaware of the lawsuit. As of Tuesday afternoon, the city had not been served the suit.
According to Carlson, Rosenkoetter was asked to leave his position as a patrol officer because he did not "break the law" and assist in the "cover up" of Bill Jakob.
"They constructively fired him for refusing to participate in their cover up," said Carlson. "In short they told him to commit a crime and he refused."
According to the suit, Rosenkoetter was hired as a Gerald officer March 29, 2008. At that ti\me, Bill Jakob, along with McCrary and two police officers, conducted "six illegal home invasions." Jakob pleaded guilty in 2008 to multiple federal charges including mail and wire fraud, lying to federal officers and posing as a federal agent.
The FBI began investigating the Gerald Police Department of the "unconstitutional and criminal conduct" to cover up Jakob's status as a commissioned officer.
The suit alleges that McCrary shredded evidence linking the Gerald police and Jakob, and ordered Rosenkoetter to withhold information pertaining to police raids conducted with Jakob.
McCrary was fired May 13, and Zelch was appointed as chief May 22.
The suit further alleges that Zelch "dramatically" cut Rosenkoetter's work hours and began to "enter false allegations" into Rosenkoetter's personnel file.
November 2008, Zelch forced Rosenkoetter to resign or be fired, according to the suit, in "retaliation" for Rosenkoetter speaking with the FBI and Franklin County authorities during an investigation of the police department and Jakob.
The suit also requests a jury trial and "fair and reasonable" compensatory damages.