Attorney For Bedford Police Terry Moore, Mayor Sam Craig and City of Bedford/Council seeks dismissal
BEDFORD - JULY 6, 2023 - In court filings today in the lawsuit filed by Tyler Barton, the attorney Fine & Hatfield representing the Bedford Police Chief Terry Moore, Bedford Mayor Sam Craig, City of Bedford, and City of Bedford Council seeks a partial dismissal of the lawsuit filed against them for failure to state a claim as to all counts of the Plaintiff's complaint with the exception of those state claims, not including punitive damage claims, based on vicarious liability alleged against the City of Bedford for torts alleged to have been committed by Officers Lee, Hamiliton and Blackburn in the course of their employment.
Bedford Police Department
The motion requests the court to dismiss all claims against them contained in Counts 1-Vii with the exception of state claims, not including punitive damages, against the City of Bedford based on vicarious liability for actions of Bedford Police officers Lee, Hamilton, and Blackburn allegedly committed during the course of their employment.
The motion and brief filed says:
The Bedford Police Department is entitled to dismissal of all claims asserted against it as it is not a person for purposes of a 1983 cause of action and a police department may not sue or be sued under Indiana law
Chief Terry Moore, Mayor Sam Craig are entitled to dismissal of all claims against them in their official capicities
Other grounds for dismissal of all petitioners that negligence is insufficient, and claims against the City of Bedford, Bedford City Council, are duplicitous and it has no separate legal existence from apart of the City of Bedford
ORGINIAL NEWS STORY:
BEDFORD - JANUARY 17, 2023 - A lawsuit had been filed against several police officers, including former Bedford Police Officer Morgan Lee, Bedford Police Chief Terry Moore and the City of Bedford in the case of former Bedford Police Officer Morgan Lee's misconduct on January 8, 2021.
The lawsuit was filed in Lawrence County Circuit Court on January 6, 2023.
In the seventeen-page lawsuit filed by the law offices of Mallor / Grodner LLP on behalf of Tyler Barton of Bedford, alleges eight counts of civil torts that have occurred.
The complaint was filed against Bedford Police officers Morgan Lee, Chase Hamiliton, Clay Blackburn, and Bedford Police Chief Terry Moore, as well as Bedford Mayor Sam Craig, Bedford Police Department, and Bedford City Council and City of Bedford that Tyler Barton and says that Barton suffered damages as being attacked in his own home.
Eight Counts of Civil Torts Alleged:
Deprivation of 1st Amendment
Deprivation of 4th Amendment
Deprivation of Rights for failure to intervene
Intentional infliction of emotional distress
Negligent infliction of emotional distress
On January 8, 2021, Barton who resided at 510 H Street, accidently smashed his fingers in a door between the house and garage at his residence which he was injured.
Due to the injury, he yelled, shouted, and cursing due to the pain of the injury. Someone hearing this and reported it to the Bedford Police Department.
Bedford Police officers Chase Hamiliton and Clay Blackburn were dispatched to the location. The Bedford Police Department was on the location past January 8th into January 9th.
Both officers entered into Barton's home, and Officer Lee asked whether Barton needed an ambulance. Barton asked the police officers to leave the home.
Officers Morgan Lee and Chase Hamiliton did not leave the home as requested. Lee persisted in asking whether he wanted an ambulance. Only the three were inside the home at this time. In the lawsuit it is alleged that at this point the officers knew a crime was not committed and no one needed assistance.
Again, both Lee and Hamiliton were asked to leave the home, and the complaint alleges that the two remained inside the home without a legal right to do so.
Lee then turned off his body camera while inside the home, to conceal an attack on Barton. In the court documents it alleges that Lee began berating, cursing, and threatening Barton. Lee telling Barton " You are going to end on the wrong side of this,"
Barton replied by saying " No I do not want a f****n ambulance,"
Officer Morgan Lee telling Barton to " Hey shut the f***k up," Barton then replied " F***k you b***ch" According to Lee he approached Barton "in a way that was going to tell him he needed to show some respect,"
Lee then shoved Barton in his own home and then grabbed and violently threw him to the floor. While Barton was on the floor, causing an injury to the back of Barton's head. While still on the floor, Lee applied body weight to Barton's neck, throat, with his forearm or hand impeding Barton's breathing and causing Barton to feel he could no longer breath, to suffer pain and suffer mortal fear. Lee strangled Barton on the floor.
While being strangled by Officer Lee, Officer Hamiliton restrained Barton by holding Barton's legs.
In the complaint it says that both Officer Hamiliton and Blackburn had realistic opportunity to intervene prevent the attack. Neither officer intervened to rescue Barton. After the attack Lee turned his body camera back on.
Former Bedford Police Officer Morgan Lee pled guilty to Official misconduct by a public servant, and battery by a plea agreement in Lawrence County Superior Court I. The charge of strangulation was dismissed.
Former Bedford Police Captain Morgan Lee
Lee was sentenced on September 19, 2022, by Judge John Plummer III in Lawrence County Superior Court I, on a suspended sentence of 365 day in jail with one day credit, 363 days suspended, and will remain on supervised probation and 50 hours of community service.
A special prosecutor, Chris Gaal, was assigned to the case. Lee was represented by Attorney Edward J. Merchant from the law firm of Ruckelshaus Kautzman Blackwell who represents police officers and firefighters.
Indiana State Police investigated the misconduct allegations, and Bedford Police Chief Terry Moore asked for disciplinary actions by the Bedford Board of Works. Lee resigned from the Bedford Police Department effective August 6, 2021.
Lee served with the Bedford Police Department since July 2010 and served as a field training officer for Bedford Police Department.
The civil lawsuit the case is just in its preliminary stages.
Lawrence County Zephyr has reached out to City of Bedford attorney Greg Pittman for a response.
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