|Stone County Sheriff Richard Hill|
More flack for authorities in Stone County regarding a deputy accused of using excessive force when making arrests.
The Chronicle has reported on the July 4th arrest of Seth Fagan, 20, of Reeds Spring, since the incident was filed in state court. Now Fagan's attorney Brandon Potter, who filed the suit last week in federal court in Kansas City, says Deputy Brandon Flack assaulted his client.
Potter, of Whiteaker and Wilson of Springfield, also represents Robin Miller and his wife who have filed a similar suit against Flack, Stone County Sheriff Richard Hill and Stone County in federal court in Springfield.
Crane alderwoman Jessica White has also retained the law firm in relation to her arrest in May for assault of a law enforcement officer. Flack and Deputy Taylor Jenkins arrested White, her husband and father-in-law following a traffic stop on the White's property in which her cousin was arrested.
According to the complaint, Flack arrested Fagan after he was dispatched to the Y Bridge in Galena for a fight in progress about 10:27 p.m. following the fireworks celebration in Galena on the fourth of July.
"Seth was failing to listen to my commands to stay seated while I was speaking with Central Dispatch. After approximately three time of asking Seth to sit down he opened his flip phone and snapped it in half holding both section of the phone in opposite hands. He then brought back both hands to approximately shoulder height and threw both sections of the cell phone striking both of my legs."
Flack says Fagan, 20, of Reeds Spring, resisted arrest twice by "using his weight against mine to pull me around."
Potter says Fagan, who was charged with minor in possession and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors, suffered "a broken nose and numerous cuts and bruises" when he was arrested by Flack.
In the federal filing, Fagan says he was sitting on a guardrail near a bridge, texting on his cell phone for a ride home when Flack told him to get off his phone and drop it to the ground. Fagan says he dropped his phone and Flack stepped on it, breaking the phone. Fagan asked Flack why he had broken the phone and Flack arrested Fagan, placing him in handcuffs, the complaint reads. Fagan claims as Flack led him down a hill he pushed him down, causing him to roll down the hill.
The complaint goes on to state “Flack held Fagan down by placing his knee on Fagan’s throat, causing him not to be able to breathe until he passed out.” It also states "that just before another officer arrived at the scene Deputy Flack let Fagan up hitting Fagan in the nose with his elbow."
|Attorney Brandon C. Potter|
The complaint mentions prior incidents alleging excessive force used by Flack while he was employed by the Branson West police department, as does the other suit, filed by the Miller's of Reeds Spring. The filing also notes that a witness told an investigator with the public defender's office that he was "disturbed" by the amount of force Flack used to arrest Charles Taulbee. Taulbee was charged with resisting arrest in July of 2011 by prosecutor Matt Selby, however, those charges were eventually dropped.
Included in the federal filing is a memo filed by supervisors of Flack's when he was employed by the Branson West Police Department. It said officials “have had several conversations with Officer Flack about his demeanor in dealing with people on the street. Officer Flack has been overbearing and forceful with people when it is not called for.”
It states officials in the Branson West department had received information that Flack was been responding to calls for which he was not dispatched.
It goes on to describe an incident in November of 2009, in which Flack reportedly continued to a call in Kimberling City after he was instructed not to. It says other officers heard the call to discontinue and called him [Flack] in an attempt to get him to discontinue. “Officer Flack still responded,” the memo states. “On scene, he became very forceful with the victim. This was reported to me from the Kimberling City (Police Department).”
The memo states officials confronted Flack the next day. “I advised him that his demeanor in talking and handling people has to change,” the memo reads. “We had already had several conversations about this...I advised Officer Flack that this behavior will not be tolerated.”
The complaint references other situations alleging Flack's, who has been employed by the county since April of 2010, use of excessive force is common. It also states, “there exists a significantly disproportionate number of citizens charged with resisting arrest which have included the use of force/unnecessary force when compared to other Stone County officers.”
Hill and the county are named in the suit because it alleges that Hill has not properly trained Flack and "Sheriff Hill has never reprimanded Flack, suspended Flack, or terminated Flack for his actions." It goes on to state, "Sheriff Hill has himself or allowed other policy makers to train officers to use an amount of force to purposely create fear in Stone County citizens of Stone County deputies."
It also alleges that authorities in Stone County did nothing when they were informed of an alleged domestic assault situation involving "his spouse/girlfriend that was reported to Stone County by Taney County law enforcement."
In response to White's claim and a video posted on the Internet by White's former attorney Dale Wiley claiming police brutality in the White's arrests, Flack and Jenkins, filed a defamation lawsuit against White, Wiley and et. al (others) in Greene County.