A federal lawsuit filed earlier this month claiming that two constables violated a Ferguson man's civil rights by arresting him has been amended to dismiss Pulaski County Sheriff Greg Speck as a defendant.
Louisville attorney Hal Friedman filed the civil complaint with the U.S. District Court in London September 2 on behalf of Lester Turner Jr. against District 5 Constable Michael "Wally" Wallace and District 4 Constable Gary Baldock — both of whom are already facing criminal charges in federal court — as well as Sheriff Speck.
Speck's inclusion as a defendant appeared to be based on the mistaken premise that the sheriff (either Speck or a predecessor) appoints, deputizes, trains and supervises constables. However in the commonwealth of Kentucky, constables are elected to office with law enforcement powers and each county's fiscal court decides whether or not their constables can operate vehicles with blue lights and sirens.
On Tuesday Sheriff Speck told the Commonwealth Journal that while he never actually was served with the original complaint, he did received notice that the plaintiff was dismissing claims against him.
According to that notice, filed by Friedman last Thursday, the claims were being dismissed "on the basis of additional information obtained following due inquiry." The plaintiff will be moving forward with all other claims against Wallace and Baldock.
The lawsuit accuses the constables of unlawfully entering Turner's premises on Shoopman Lane on February 2 of this year (about a month before their own arrests by the FBI on a charge of Conspiracy against Civil Rights) and arresting him falsely for trafficking in methamphetamine — a case which was dismissed on March 11. He is seeking damages for his personal injuries; destruction of his property; harm to his reputation in the community as well as punitive damages; attorney fees; and recovery of costs.
The civil lawsuit has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert E. Wier. Federal court records indicate that the remaining defendants have yet to file an answer to the complaint.