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Lee County sued over stun gun incident

Posted February 11, 2010

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— A Lee County man filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the county, the sheriff's department and numerous deputies, saying the deputies beat him and used a stun gun on him 11 times last April.

Steven "Wayne" Thomas is seeking more than $3 million in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages in the suit, alleging that the deputies violated his civil rights.

According to the suit, Thomas started acting irrationally after working with chemicals in his tobacco fields. As his friend was driving him to seek medical help, Thomas jumped out of the pickup and destroyed a woman's decorative fence.

When deputies arrived to arrest him, they assaulted him and broke his jaw, the lawsuit alleges. One deputy used his stun gun on Thomas eight times in less than three minutes, according to the suit.

Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter said his deputies were pushed around in the scuffle and that they acted appropriately.

"Mr. Thomas assaulted one of my deputies (and) later in the incident, assaulted two more of my deputies. I believe my officers used a reasonable amount of force," Carter said Thursday.

The deputies arrested Thomas and kept him shackled to a hospital bed for two days, although a magistrate had already set a bond for him and his family had agreed to post the bond, according to the lawsuit.

“The Lee County Sheriff’s Department acted recklessly and clearly used excessive force on Wayne Thomas," attorney Kieran Shanahan said in a statement. "The situation was made worse when Wayne was held for three-and-one-half days and not told he could post bail. He was also denied proper medical care.

"My client and I are both pro-law enforcement, but this is a clear case of law enforcement going too far."

34 Comments

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  • mad_dash Feb 12, 2010

    I know Wayne Thomas. He is a hot head that started every bit of that mess! I heard about it as soon as it happened. He is an instigator if I have ever seen one. And the whole chemicals made him sick mess.. is bull.. his daddy is a farmer, and he has been around that mess FOREVER.. and it has never effected him so far.. that is just an excuse for him to act the way he does! Anyone who knows him, they know how he is. He will never change. All he should get is a big lawyer bill!

  • Fuquay Resident Feb 11, 2010

    thinkin out loud, what are you talking about? This has nothing to do with a bank drop. What have you been smokin' bro?

  • go po-po Feb 11, 2010

    looks like i was extremely right. Hans go tell someone else how to do their job

  • gandalla Feb 11, 2010

    If the officers are innocent why are the county commisioners already talking about reaching a settlement with his attorney?

  • 5-113 FA Retired Feb 11, 2010

    It appears rules of engagement don't apply to Lee County LEO gangbangers. Typical, redneck cop philosophy is; in the absence of rational or therapeutic interpersonal communication, the overwhelming use of force more than makes up for mental weakness.

  • go po-po Feb 11, 2010

    I havent read any comments but i bet Hans is in here knowing it all AGAIN!!!!!!!!

  • thinkin out loud Feb 11, 2010

    I'll be glad to serve on this jury. I'll give him exactly what he deserves....a big fat attorneys bill! Your first level of safety starts with you. Whether you're at work, a shopping mall or at home, you have the first responsibility for your own safety.

    Why was he doing a bank drop at night anyway. I worked in the security field many years and have been in law enforcement 15 years. We always tell businesses to take the money to the bank when the bank is open. Daylight offers safety and people in numbers offers safety.

  • WHEEL Feb 11, 2010

    I sure am sorry the poor little deputies got "pushed around". That is absolutely grounds for violating every constitutational right of a man having a possibly fatal reaction to chemicals has. What did the SBI say. Oh I forget, they can't even work out whether a stain is blood or not.

  • MajorLeagueinfidel Feb 11, 2010

    I don't need to know what an LEO does day to day or how dangerous the job is....this guy was causing problems and tearing up people's hard earned property...then the COPS show up to try to figure out what the problem is and he wants to fight....then gets TASED....punched etc and wants to whine about it? are you kidding me?.....fights are nasty and he willing entered one with these deputies....as a taxpayer I don't want to pay for an officer sitting at a desk hurt from not fighting hard or using their TASER...I want my tax money to pay them to be out working...so I say good job to the Deputies..

    Typical childish behavior...acting out and then crying when you get spanked....I have ZERO sympathy for this "plaintiff"

  • pjnoobie2 Feb 11, 2010

    well, at least the taser didnt kill him...I've heard and know one personally that got tased and died..that is what they need to fix...they need to stop doing away with the taser.....it just plain murder when someone dies from being tased...I dont care what they did...tasers kill!

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