COLUMBUS, Ga. (CN) – A sheriff’s deputy with a history of racism and conduct unbecoming an officer drank “5 or 6 beers” before going to a undercover drug sting and then shot the suspect in the stomach without provocation, the injured man claims in Federal Court.
Brandon Jones admits he agreed to meet Deputy Charles Ashley, whom he describes as a “one-man drug task force,” to sell him drugs at a convenience store parking lot on the evening of Aug. 14, 2008.
Jones says he had no idea that Ashley was a cop as he climbed into the passenger seat of his car. Nor did he know that another deputy, Wally Carpenter, was a short distance away, providing cover during the anticipated drug exchange and arrest.
But Jones claims he could tell that Ashley was drunk when they met.
After a few minutes of conversation, Ashley texted a distress code to Carpenter, who quickly pulled up alongside Jones’ car, according to the complaint.
Jones said he had not done anything to threaten the officer, nor did he have a weapon in his hands. As Carpenter approached, he said, his hands were plainly visible on the steering wheel, and he did not move any other part of his body.
Nonetheless, he says, Ashley shot him in the stomach with no warning.
“After the shooting, Deputy Ashley admitted to investigators that he drank 5 or 6 beers in the hours before the shooting,” according to the complaint.
Jones sued Ashley, Marion County, and its Sheriff Horace Snider.
He claims: “Deputy Ashley previously worked as a police officer with the Dawson Police Department and Talbot County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Ashley was terminated and/or asked to resign from his positions with the Dawson Police Department and Talbot County Sheriff’s Office for using racial slurs about African-Americans, using excessive force, and/or for conducting unbecoming a law enforcement officer. When Sheriff Snider hired Deputy Ashley, Sheriff Snider knew or should have known of these facts related to Deputy Ashley’s negative employment history, but Sheriff Snider hired Deputy Ashley anyway.”
Jones claims the sheriff sent Ashley loose without supervision, though he had received no training or instruction on how to carry out an undercover drug operation.
“Sheriff Snider hired Deputy Ashley to lead the Marion County Sheriff’s Department’s drug enforcement efforts. Deputy Ashley’s duties included serving as an undercover drug officer. In effect, Deputy Ashley was hired to be a one-man drug task force,” according to the complaint.
Jones seeks punitive damages for constitutional violations, assault and battery and negligence.
He is represented by Douglas Dumont, of the Warshauer Law Group in Atlanta.