GERALD, Mo. – Bill Jakob arrived in this small town with an offer to help police curb the community’s methamphetamine problem. He had a badge and a gun and told officials he had previously worked as an anti-drug agent in Illinois. He even drove a fully equipped Ford Crown Victoria, which he said was for undercover work.
There was just one problem: Jakob was no cop. He was an unemployed truck driver with a criminal record and had recently filed for bankruptcy.
Now this village of 1,200 people southwest of St. Louis is confronting allegations that Jakob and other officers mistreated and robbed many of the people they arrested.
At least 17 people have sued, including an elderly woman who was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric ward because she didn’t cooperate with the police and a man who said Jakob held a gun to his head and threatened to shoot while the man’s child watched.
“Not only did they break in and threaten to kill people and violate their civil rights, they stole money, prescription drugs and legally owned weapons. It’s crazy that this could happen in 2008,” said attorney Dan Briegel, who represents the woman who was placed in the psychiatric ward for a week.