A civil lawsuit has been filed against two Jackson County deputies in the wake of allegations of abuse of power following a neighborhood dispute. According to court documents, the lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount exceeding $25,000 for each charge, along with punitive damages. The plaintiff, Josh Roberts, has accused Deputies Brett Bryson and Matthew Hawkins of two counts each of assault and battery, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution.
The lawsuit claims that the actions taken by the defendants were unjustifiably excessive for the circumstances and not required to make a lawful arrest. Roberts maintains that on October 12, 2020, Deputies Bryson and Hawkins used excessive force against him in front of his wife at his residence, resulting in a fractured skull and facial bone injuries. He alleges that he was wrongfully arrested, and charges were subsequently brought against him to conceal the deputies’ alleged wrongdoing. The incident originated from a report that Roberts was in possession of a dog that didn’t belong to him. The charges against Roberts were dismissed by the District Attorney on July 13, 2021.
Former Sheriff Chip Hall, who was in office at the time, acknowledged his awareness of the incident but refrained from commenting on the allegations or whether a use of force investigation had been conducted.
The current Sheriff, Doug Farmer, in consultation with County Attorney Debra Bechtel, also declined to comment, stating that it would not be fair or appropriate to any of the parties involved to comment on ongoing litigation. Farmer indicated that he would need to consult with Bechtel for guidance on the county’s next steps if it were to become a party in the lawsuit.