Civil lawsuit filed against Marion County Sheriff's Office

Published: Aug. 8, 2019 at 9:12 PM EDT
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A man who was severely beaten by Marion County sheriff's deputies in 2014 is suing the sheriff's department, and now that lawsuit is going to trial.

Tv20 met with the man's lawyer to find out what he wants.

The deputies responsible for the beating have already been found guilty in federal court and now the Sheriff's Office has been found liable after years of investigation. This means a jury will re-hear the details of the case to determine how much in damages Derrick Price will receive.

It all stems from an incident in 2014 where Derrick Price ran from sheriff's deputies but then surrendered face down in a business parking lot. Still, multiple deputies used excessive force as seen here, against Price who was complying.

Price's lawyer Robert Rush said, "the victim of their abuse came to me and I filed a lawsuit based on the constitutional rights that were violated. Basically, the 4th amendment of the constitution that protects citizens from an unreasonable seizure of their person and that's what this was."

A federal judge found procedures and policies from the previous sheriff Chris Blair to be unconstitutional, which has now resulted in this lawsuit seeking damages explained Rush. "We interviewed people and then took formal depositions where people came in and swore under oath as to the facts of the case. It's been about two years as we've put this together. At the end of that, we looked at all the facts and said there is no question, they are liable, the Sheriff's Office violated the clients civil rights and the federal judge agreed with that."

Former sheriff Chris Blair was ultimately removed from his position because of this incident and the deputies found criminally guilty were fired. Rush says it's not often a federal court will hold an entire governmental department, liable which makes this case stand out. "That's how lucky we are in this country. There's no place else in the world where an individual in a little town like Gainesville and an individual guy who drives a truck can take on a Sheriff's Office or anyone else and come to court and say we want justice and this is what it's really about to get justice."

The jury trial will start sometime in January. Rush says he has not determined a specific amount his client is seeking but did not rule out the possibility of a settlement being reached out of court. We reached out to the Marion County Sheriff's Office but they declined to comment.