In April, Anniston resident Stacy Brown filed suit against the sheriff and Ward accusing them of physically and verbally abusing her 14-year-old son while he was participating in a program for teenagers at the Calhoun County Jail.
Attorneys representing Brown and her son — identified in the suit as “J.B.” — told The Star Wednesday they plan Monday to oppose motions filed by Amerson and Ward to dismiss two of the five civil rights violations the suit alleges they committed.
“Our response is due the twentieth of the month; we will definitely file something in opposition,” said Anthony Bush, one of the Montgomery lawyers hired by Brown to represent her and J.B.
Attempts to reach Amerson and attorneys representing the sheriff and Ward were unsuccessful Wednesday.
In May, Amerson and Ward denied most of the allegations against them in their answers to the federal lawsuit.
The suit stems from the day Brown’s son spent at the jail Feb. 4 as part of a program for teenagers who’ve been suspended from school and others who’ve committed minor crimes and are under the jurisdiction of the juvenile courts. A video obtained and published by The Star in late March shows part of the encounter that appears to show Amerson physically handling the cuffed boy. The suit cites four counts of civil and constitutional rights violations the sheriff and deputy allegedly together committed against the boy and an additional charge against Amerson.
In their answers, Amerson and Ward deny that either of them used excessive force against the boy and also deny they violated J.B’s Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process. Additionally, Amerson and Ward have asked the judge in the federal case to dismiss all of the other counts against them. Those requests were filed in separate motions to dismiss on the grounds of “qualified immunity,” or in other words, on the grounds that neither Amerson nor Ward can be sued in their official and individual capacities as law-enforcement officers, as stated under the Eleventh Amendment.
Bush said he and Peyton Faulk, the other attorney representing Brown and J.B., will oppose the motions to dismiss by Monday and also file arguments in response to the defendants’ denials of the remaining claims against them.
After that, Amerson and Ward will have nine days to file their counter-replies before a federal judge will review the case preceding the discovery period.
“It’s going to be a slow-moving case for a while,” Bush said.
Star staff writer Cameron Steele: 256-235-3562.