San Mateo County man who park ranger shot with Taser files civil rights lawsuit

Joshua Melvin, San Jose Mercury News, March 21, 2013
OAKLAND - A San Mateo County man filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Thursday against the National Park Service ranger who shot him with a Taser during a confrontation sparked last year by his off leash dog. Gary Hesterberg, 51, alleges Ranger Sarah Cavallaro violated his Fourth Amendment right protecting against unreasonable force during arrest when she zapped him on a trail at Rancho Corral de Tierra open space near Montara. Hesterberg had ignored Cavallaro's orders not to walk away after she stopped and warned him about having one of his two small dogs off-leash Jan. 29, 2012. The area had recently come under control of the National Park Service which started forbidding free roaming dogs there. Some residents, dog owners and Rep. Jackie Speier, D Hillsborough, were outraged by the use of force. "A law enforcement officer is only allowed to tase someone if they pose a substantial and immediate threat," said Hesterberg's attorney, Oakland based attorney Michael Haddad. "But in this case she tased him because he started to walk away."

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