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Sheriff, deputy defendants in $8 million suit

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By The Staff

By DAMON LAWRENCE

dlawrence@roanecounty.com

The mother of a man who was killed by a sheriff’s deputy is suing Roane County for $7.95 million.

Sheriff Jack Stockton, Deputy Dustin Hensley, Investigator Bryan Walker, Chief Deputy Tim Phillips and County Executive Mike Farmer are named as defendants in the lawsuit, filed June 4 in Roane County Circuit Court by Oak Ridge attorney Mike Ritter on behalf of Martha Davis.

Hensley shot Davis’ son, David Dickey, at his Quarry Road home on the night of June 6, 2009.

The officer was reportedly responding to a shots-fired call which the lawsuit said was made by Walker, a neighbor of Dickey.

A Tennessee Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the shooting concluded that Hensley acted in self-defense. District Attorney General Russell Johnson twice presented the case to a grand jury. The grand jury decided not to indict either time.

Several other officers are named as defendants and are listed numerically as John Does in the lawsuit.

“Based upon information and belief, John Doe 1,  John Doe 2,  John Doe 3, John Doe 4, John Doe 5, John Doe 6, John Doe 7, and John Doe 8, conspired to cover up their malicious actions by rearranging times and incidents of this occurrence,” the lawsuit states.

According to Johnson, Dickey advanced on Hensley with a 9 mm pistol in his right hand. Dickey then, according to Hensley, uttered the following words: “Let me tell you something. I’ll kill you.”

“Deputy Hensley responded by pulling his 357 automatic from his holster and shooting towards the oncoming Dickey while backing away in a quick manner,” according to the DAG’s office.

Hensley fired seven times. Three of the shots hit Dickey.

The grand jury that heard the case last October determined that “Hensley responded accordingly to Dickey’s armed threat towards the deputy.”  

The lawsuit paints a different picture.

“The decedent [Dickey] was not armed, but rather holding a cell phone in his right hand when shot several times by Deputy Hensley,” the lawsuit states. “The decedent did not threaten Deputy Hensley at any time.”

The lawsuit also makes allegations of a previous confrontation between Walker and Dickey.

“Based upon information and belief, detective Walker of 114 Steven Lane and the decedent ... had experienced a serious verbal confrontation sometime prior to the incident with Detective Walker making certain threats against the decedent,” the suit states.

Dickey never fired a shot during the encounter with Hensley, according to information Johnson released about the TBI investigation.

Ritter didn’t respond to phone messages this week, but during previous conversations with the Roane County News, the attorney said he had been conducting his own investigation into the shooting over the past year. 

Ritter filed an amended version of the lawsuit on Monday.

Roane County Attorney Tom McFarland said he was vacationing in Florida and had yet to see the lawsuit.

The Dickey lawsuit is at least the second filed against the sheriff’s office in less than a month.

Kingston attorney Chris Cawood is suing Stockton and Sheriff’s Deputy Guy McGuckin over a courthouse fracas that occurred in May 2009.

The sheriff’s office charged Cawood with resisting arrest in the incident. A judge later found him not guilty.

In the lawsuit, filed May 13, Cawood alleges he was assaulted, falsely arrested and maliciously prosecuted.

He wants $100,000.