The Barren County Sheriff’s Office is facing more legal trouble, in the form of a wrongful arrest and excessive force federal lawsuit by a Glasgow man who had his charges dismissed at the request of the sheriff’s office.
Mark Smith filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court of the Western District of Kentucky at Bowling Green on Aug. 17 against Barren County Sheriff Chris Eaton, Deputy Chris Wyatt, Deputy Aaron Bennett and Deputy Rodney Sponhouse, according to federal court documents.
“He’s another victim of what is apparently a rogue sheriff’s department,” said Smith’s attorney, Laura Landenwich, on Thursday.
In the lawsuit, Smith claims he ran out of gas on Aug. 19, 2011, while traveling on Tompkinsville Road in Barren County. When he couldn’t find enough gas, he asked the owner of the property where his car had stopped if he could leave the vehicle in her yard overnight, according to the lawsuit.
She agreed, but when Smith went back to his vehicle, Wyatt had arrived and told Smith that he owned the property, the complaint stated.
According to the arrest citation from that night, written by Wyatt, a complaint was made of a driver who appeared drunk on Ky. 63. When he made contact with Smith, Wyatt stated he had a “very strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person,” the citation stated. Smith also told Wyatt he had had a beer after his truck ran out of gas, Wyatt reported on the uniform citation.
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