- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 4, 2015

INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (AP) - The former mayor of a northeastern Iowa town with a history of alcohol-related offenses is suing the city and an ex-police officer, alleging the officer tried to set him up for a drunken driving charge.

Carl Scharff, who served as mayor of Independence from 2009 until 2013, filed a lawsuit Feb. 25 in Buchanan County District Court against Independence and former police officer David Winger. It is the latest in a string of accusations and legal discrepancies between Scharff and Winger that date to 2003.

In the new lawsuit, Scharff said his civil rights were violated during a February 2013 incident in which he alleges Winger arranged to catch him drunken driving. He also claimed false arrest and malicious prosecution.

Scharff alleges Winger had his former girlfriend take him to a bar in an effort to get him drunk and later instructed him to drive to a local church, where Winger and other officers arrived soon after. Preliminary breath tests conducted on Scharff showed no trace of alcohol, but Winger cited him for having an open container. Winger’s ex-girlfriend didn’t receive a ticket.

Scharff said he based his allegations on a statement that Winger’s ex-girlfriend provided to investigators last year.

Winger told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (https://bit.ly/1BHSMow ) he was unaware of Scharff’s recent allegations. Scharff and his attorney declined to comment.

Winger first arrested Scharff on an operating while intoxicated charge 12 years ago, before Scharff held public office. Scharff was found not guilty, and he responded by suing Independence for $10,000, claiming false arrest. That lawsuit was dismissed. Another officer arrested Scharff on an OWI charge a few months after the ruling.

In 2007, Scharff joined a protest calling for the dismissal of Winger. And in 2012, three years into Scharff’s term as mayor, Winger helped arrest Scharff for public intoxication and other charges. A lengthy investigation then ensued following the February 2013 incident and other claims made against Winger.

Independence Police Chief Randy Miller said Winger’s employment was terminated effective April 30.

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, https://www.wcfcourier.com

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