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Woman's lawsuit says she was assaulted by UCSD deputy

August 6th, 2014 9:17 pm by Brad Hicks

Woman's lawsuit says she was assaulted by UCSD deputy

ERWIN — An Erwin woman who alleges she was assaulted by a Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department deputy during a February incident at her home has filed a complaint seeking punitive and compensatory damages from the deputy, Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley and Unicoi County.

Attorneys for Sherry Adkins filed the complaint in Unicoi County Circuit Court on Tuesday. In it, Adkins is seeking $1 million in compensatory damages against Deputy Jacob Marshall, Hensley and the county. She is also seeking $1 million in punitive damages against Hensley and Marshall.

In the complaint, Adkins alleges Marshall assaulted her at her South Elm Avenue home on the evening of Feb. 28. On that date, Adkins and her 19-year-old daughter got into an argument, during which Adkins’ daughter “expressed that she wanted to leave, take her belongings and the family dog, and then go to her grandmother’s house to stay,” the complaint states.

After Adkins told her daugther that she could not take the family dog, Adkins became upset and contacted the Erwin Police Department, according to the complaint.

“The Erwin Police Department officers told the daughter that she could only take personal items that her mother, Plaintiff Sherry Adkins, did not object to her taking,” the complaint states. “The Erwin Police Officers talked the daughter into going to the grandmother’s house.”

That evening, Adkins’ daughter returned to her mother’s residence with Marshall, who said he had a court order to take the family dog, according to the complaint. Adkins alleges in the complaint that when she asked Marshall to see this court order, he refused to show it and indicated that her daughter could take the dog.

“Instead of showing the Court Order to (Adkins), Defendant Marshall threatened (Adkins), that she was going to jail if she did not give the dog to the daughter,” the complaint states.

Adkins alleges that Marshall then entered her home without permission or a warrant and without “exigent circumstances or other lawful reason for him to enter” the residence. According to the complaint, Adkins asked Marshall to leave the residence.

“Defendant Marshall did not leave but began to abuse, threaten, and intimidate the Plaintiff, Sherry Adkins,” the complaint states. “After being verbally abused, threatened and intimidated by Defendant Marshall, (Adkins) finally consented and gave the dog to the daughter. At such point, (Adkins) pitched the cloth dog leash to her daughter.”

Adkins alleges it was at this point that Marshall grabbed her by the back of her head and threw her to the floor. After this, Marshall handcuffed Adkins behind her back, according to the complaint.

“Before grabbing (Adkins) by the back of the head and throwing her to the floor, (Adkins) did not make any physical contact with Defendant Marshall and made no physical or verbal threats toward (Marshall),” the complaint states.

According to the complaint, officers with the Erwin Police Department returned to the scene and spoke with Marshall. After this, Marshall released Adkins from the handcuffs, according to court documents.

“Despite not touching or even threatening (Marshall), (Marshall) continued to threaten the Plaintiff, Sherry Adkins, that he was going to charge her with assault,” the complaint states. “(Adkins) responded that she had not touched him and he, Defendant Marshall, had assaulted her.”

According to the complaint, Adkins subsequently found that the court order Marshall said he had in his possession was a post-dated Ex Parte order that asked Marshall to accompany Adkins’ daughter to the residence to retrieve her items and the dog if it could be “accomplished without objection by the residence.”

In the complaint, Adkins is asking that Marshall be held liable for assault and battery, invasion of privacy and intention infliction of emotional distress.

“Defendant Marshall’s conduct was intentional and reckless,” the complaint states. “The conduct was so outrageous that it is not tolerated by civilized society. (Marshall’s) conduct has caused the Plaintiff, Sherry Adkins, serious mental injury.

“As a direct result of Defendant Marhsall’s intentional infliction of emotional distress/outrageous conduct, the Plaintiff, Sherry Adkins, has suffered severe injuries for which (Marshall) should be held liable all damages caused by such injuries.”

On Tuesday, Knoxville-based attorney Gary M. Prince, who is representing Adkins, also filed a similar complaint in U.S. District Court in Greeneville which alleges the incident violated her Constitutional Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. In this complaint, Adkins is also seeking $1 million in compensatory damages against Marshall, Hensley and the county, and $1 million in punitive damages against Marshall and Hensley.

Prince could not be reached Wednesday for comment. Both Hensley and Unicoi County Mayor Greg Lynch said the matter would be referred to the county attorney for his review. 

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