The defamation lawsuit filed by two Stone County deputies against Crane Alderwoman Jessica White, her former attorney Dale Wiley and others has been dismissed without prejudice.
White, her husband and father-in-law have accused Stone County deputies Brandon Flack and Taylor Jenkins of using excessive force and "police brutality" when they were arrested last May.
White and her family were returning from an outing at the city park in Crane when they encountered a Stone County deputy who had pulled over Brittany Barnett, who is Jessica White's cousin, for a traffic violation in their driveway.
When the deputy ran the occupants of the vehicle for warrants, he found that one of the people in the car, Thomas Barnett, was wanted for not paying a traffic fine in Crane.
The deputy called for back-up from a Crane police officer. "I was telling her (Brittany) to be quiet and listen to the officers," White said at meeting in Wiley's office. "By her disrespecting them I felt like she was disrespecting me."
Wiley said in a news release, that White, her husband Jordan, and her father-in-law Donny "Stick" White were told to move to the carport and not go inside by the officers. "Then two late-arriving officers came and began to shine their flashlights into the White's cars, in the cutilage of their house. They did not have any logical reason, much less probable cause, to do so. They certainly did not have a warrant."
Court records say that Jordan Ray White attempted to intimidate officers at the scene by ordering them off of his property. "I informed White to sit down and remain quiet," White then screamed "this is my f*****g property." As Jenkins attempted to arrest Jordan White, he allegedly drew back his fist in an attempt to strike the deputy. Jenkins used his forearm and bicep to block the punch and struck White in the face, according to court documents. He has been charged with resisting or interfering with an arrest.
According to the probable cause statement filed against Donald "Stick" White, the man allegedly attempted to punch deputies Flack and Jenkins. When he was ordered to put his hands behind his back he refused to comply and continued to fight with officers, at which point he was tazed. He has been charged with resisting or interfering with an arrest.
Jessica Beth White, 31, who is Ward 1 Alderwoman, allegedly hit Jenkins in the back of the head in the melee, according to court records. She has been charged with misdemeanor assault of a law enforcement officer.
To support the allegations that the deputies used excessive force in the arrest of the White's, Wiley set up the website www.stonecountypolicebrutality.com that shows video taken during the melee. That website has garnered thousands of hits since it was posted online.
"I have information that Dale Wiley either edited that video or he had the video edited. We would like to see the whole unedited tape," said Richard Crites, an attorney and Stone County Reserve deputy who represented Flack and Jenkins when the defamation suit was filed.
"My clients had the right to be in that driveway. Brittany Barnett pulled in there - they didn't need probable cause...they had reasonable suspicion," Crites said. She (Jessica White) reacted because she was drunk. Alcohol and stupidity go like bacon and eggs."
“I don't care what Dale Wiley says, you don't have an excuse to go up and hit somebody in the head that's a cop. Dale Wiley wants everyone in Stone County to believe that Stone County deputies are brutal. It's all about money."
Stone County prosecutor Matt Selby recused himself in the White's cases. The attorney generals office will now represent the state.
Deputy Flack has been named in several recent lawsuits that have been filed in federal courts in Springfield and Kansas City that claim he caused injuries to people when he arrested them.
Sources say that Flack tendered his two week notice to the sheriff's office on August 14th. Sheriff Richard Hill, who was in Kansas City for an annual meeting of county sheriff's, was unavailable for comment last week. However, Chief Deputy Rich Anderson said, " I cannot confirm or deny if it happened. I can't comment on personnel matters....you're just going to have to wait until the sheriff gets back on Monday."
UPDATE- Sheriff Hill has confirmed that Flack, "has taken a non law enforcement job."
Calls to Crites and the White's attorney's Steve Garner and Chandler Gregg have not been returned.
Jessica White recently had surgery to repair damage to her knee she sustained in the altercation with Flack and Jenkins. She is scheduled to reappear in court on September 18th.
Because the defamation suit was dismissed without prejudice, it can be refiled at a later date.