Sheriff to appeal $1.75M verdict

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Cannon County Sheriff's Department is planning to appeal a U.S. Federal Court decision Friday (Sept. 20) that found two deputies guilty of using excessive force in a February 2012 shooting.

"It's definitely going to be appealed," Sheriff Darrell Young said, calling the civil suit "a no win situation for either side."

A jury deliberated for nearly nine hours before finding Deputies Reed Bryson and Jordan McGee guilty and ruled that they are liable for $1.75 million in damages to the subject's family. The jury ruled that their supervisors, Sheriff Young and County Executive Mike Gannon were not guilty in the case.

Bryson and McGee were found to have violated the Fourth Amendment rights of Richard Butcher, 28.

Butcher was shot and killed as he was driving in circles in the front yard of his home near Woodbury when encountered by the two officers.

The officers were responding to a report of a theft.

During testimony, Deputy Bryson said he was afraid the truck would strike the officers and that he feared for his life when he opened fire. Butcher was struck by two rounds - one in the right leg and the other in the back of his head. Bryson fired 10 shots during the incident and McGee fired three shots.

The officers knew Butcher, whom they had arrested before, and called him by name and ordered him to stop driving. Butcher refused.

No evidence was presented on why Butcher was driving in circles in his front yard.

A number of witnesses were called including Nicholas Butcher, the brother of the slain man. Neighbors, an emergency medical service representative and a TBI firearms specialist also testified. 

Butcher testified that the officers arrived at the scene, approached the vehicle and opened fire.

"My client started this journey in an attempt to seek justice for the death of Ricky Butcher," said Luke Evans, attorney for Nicholas Butcher. "And gratefully they were able to see that come to fruition."

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Members Opinions:
September 26, 2013 at 4:48am
The Tennessean reported the court awarded $2.25 million in the case and stated there were 10 rounds fired by Dep Bryson and 3 rounds by Deputy McGee. This meant Bryson had to eject one magazine and lad another before firing again. The man was on his own property and if he wanted to dig himself into a hole why did the deputies Not just sit in the patrol vehicle and wait for the suspect to run out of gas? It appears the officers were unprepared for this call and let nerves take over. A man is needlessly dead. The Chief needs to hold a training class as a refresher course for his officers. They have forgotten what they learned during mandate.
September 26, 2013 at 8:01am
He didn't necessarily have to reload. If they are carrying Glocks which is mostly standard issue they come standard with a 17 round mag. Even the predecessor S&W 915 comes standard with 15 rounds. Law enforcement isn't going to carry the aftermarket limited clip. As for the rest of the story, I wasn't there thus not knowing the whole situation have no comment.
September 26, 2013 at 4:11pm
Why not just try to shoot-out the tires first before shooting a person?
September 27, 2013 at 8:08am
That is a very valid option and probably the best course.
September 27, 2013 at 3:10pm
If he had nothing to hide, why didnt he stop like he was asked? Seriously, what prudent law abiding person would not stop? Makes no sense to me...
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