A fourth civil suit has been filed in federal court against two Pulaski County constables, adding to the legal proceedings that await the two after their criminal trial has been decided.
District 5 Constable Michael “Wally” Wallace and District 4 Constable Gary Baldock already face three suits filed against them by Pulaski residents who allege various civil rights violations against them during and after arrests.
In the newest case, Somerset resident Hubert Coots contends that on January 13, 2020, the constables issued a search warrant on his home. During that search, Wallace and Baldock said they uncovered numerous types of drugs, including five pounds or more of marijuana.
Then, on February 14, Coots was charged in Pulaski District Court with Trafficking in Marijuana Over Five Pounds. That was the only charge brought against him.
That case was dismissed on October 8, 2020.
According to Coots, not only did Wallace and Baldock not find five pounds of marijuana during the search, they also “seized various items of the Plaintiff’s personal property, including money earned from the Plaintiff’s gainful employment and various other items of personal property.”
Coots also claimed that during and after the search, Wallace and Baldock repeatedly asked for the location of certain money and property, despite Coots’ continuing to say he was not trafficking in drugs and had no stash of money.
“After said criminal charges were filed against the Defendants, they threatened the Plaintiff (Coots) and members of his family in an attempt to coerce the Plaintiff into pleading guilty to the charge against him,” the lawsuit states.
After the charge was dismissed, Pulaski Circuit Court entered an order requiring that the property seized during the search of Coots home be returned to him.
According to court documents, those items have not be given back.
The lawsuit against Wallace and Baldock alleges civil rights violations, including intimidation, force and threat; false charges against Coots; physical, mental and emotional pain and suffering; and damage and loss of property.
Coots is seeking an amount “to reasonably compensate him for his injuries and damages.”
Through his attorneys, Wallace had denied all claims made against him in the previous lawsuits. He and Baldock have also pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges against them.
Wallace and Baldock were arrested in March 2020 and charged with Conspiracy Against Civil Rights.
While Wallace was taken into custody peacefully by the FBI and released the same day, Baldock reportedly fired a gun at FBI agents when they attempted to take him into custody at his residence. Both Baldock and an agent were wounded in a reported exchange of gunfire, with Baldock being taken to a Lexington hospital for treatment before being lodged in the Grayson County Detention Center.
Because of that incident, Baldock has been charged with Attempted Murder of a Federal Agent and Discharge of a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence.
Additionally, both constables are facing drug charges: Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine.
The joint trial of Wallace and Baldock has been postponed due to court general orders that all trials be continued until after March 15 due to COVID-19.
Once the trial on the joint charges has concluded, a second phase will begin in which Baldock will face the attempted murder and firearms charges.
All previously filed civil matters connected to Wallace and Baldock have been stayed until after the criminal proceedings, as likely will this new case.