Sheriff to appeal $1.75M verdict

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."