Judge Favors Dothan in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

By: Demetria McClenton Email
By: Demetria McClenton Email

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta makes a ruling in favor of the Dothan Police Department in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Although the incident occurred back in 2005, details from that day are still fresh in Dothan City Attorney Len White's mind.

After 27-year old Eddie Sanders Jr. died days after being arrested, his father filed a lawsuit against the police department and the city, accusing both of violating Sanders' constitutional rights.

On Wednesday afternoon an Atlanta Federal Court closed the final chapter on an appeal for a wrongful death lawsuit filed in Dothan.

“From the beginning the city has said that Mr. Sanders death was tragic and unnecessary but it was not the fault of the police officers,” said Dothan City Attorney, Len White.

Arresting officer Maurice Eggleston was named in the suit for using excessive force against Sanders.

“Officers Maurice Eggleston and Ronald Hall showed through their reaction to a dangerous and difficult situation. They are often times confronted with people who will blame them for their own actions they are only doing their job and that job is to protect this community,” said White.

On August 24th, 2005, officers attempted to pull over sanders in a routine traffic stop.

Instead of pulling over, White says Sanders led police on a chase through downtown Dothan.

“It seems that was the reason he was running, it gave him time to swallow his cocaine. Eventually he managed to get pulled over and stopped and they struggled with him for some time until they finally subdued him and took him to jail,” said White.

According to White, days after the arrest Sanders was taken to the hospital where he later died.

“It was determined that he died from acute cocaine poisoning. Our police officers do everything to protect the community from drugs and drugs are ultimately responsible for Mr. Sanders death.”

Sanders ' father filed an appeal claiming Sanders’ 14th amendment rights were violated when he was taken to jail instead of the hospital.

But, Federal Judges sided with a lower court ruling, clearing the City and Police Department of any blame.

It all boiled down to whether the officers were qualified to recognize Sanders' need for medical attention at the time of his arrest.

The Appeals Court Judges agreed they were no, and therefore not liable in Sanders' death.

City Attorney Len White says it's not unusual for people to sue the police department, he sees several cases a year.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WTVY-TV 285 N Foster Street Dothan, AL 36303 334-792-3195
Copyright © 2002-2015 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 114251359 - wtvy.com/a?a=114251359
Gray Television, Inc.