Insurance salesmen sue N. Braddock police for false arrest

Two insurance salesmen are suing a North Braddock police officer after they say they were falsely arrested after being accused of involvement in a scam.

The lawsuit states that Officer Sharon Jackson arrested James Biernesser and Douglas Holcomb, who sold life insurance for American Income Life, after an appointment with Jackson and his wife in April 2019 at their home in Penn Hills.

After agreeing to purchase a policy, Jackson went upstairs, returning with handcuffs, a Taser and his firearm and arrested the two for fraud, the lawsuit states.

“Defendant Jackson also rummaged through plaintiffs’ pockets, removing and placing their wallets and phones on the table before taking pictures of their identification cards, union cards and driver’s licenses with his phone,” the lawsuit said. “Defendant Jackson informed the plaintiffs they could not leave, and defendant Jackson stated that he did not want to chase or shoot them down.”

When Penn Hills police arrived, they let the two men go and found there was no fraud, according to the lawsuit.

A month later, Jackson was charged with two counts each of false imprisonment, simple assault and official oppression. He pleaded guilty in March to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to six months of probation.