Madison County Sheriff’s Office settles lawsuit with man badly beaten after arrest

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A man has reached a settlement with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office after being badly beaten during an arrest in 2012.

Robert Bryant filed a civil lawsuit against Madison County Sheriff Blake Dorning and eight of his deputies, claiming false arrest and conspiracy to cover up a “revenge beatdown.”

Sheriff Dorning announced Thursday the two sides have reached a settlement through mediation.

An insurance company represented the Sheriff and deputies, and settled with Bryant and his attorneys. Sheriff Dorning said his office admits no liability or responsibility with regard the allegations made by Bryant.

Bryant was arrested during a traffic stop in August 2012, but was involved in a bar fight with one of the deputies weeks earlier. That deputy, Justin Watson, was in plain clothes at the time of the fight.

Bryant accused seven deputies of beating Bryant or watching him be punched and kicked while unconscious and handcuffed at the side of the road. The eighth deputy was accused of helping falsify investigative reports.

WHNT News 19 spoke with one of Bryant’s attorneys, Jeremiah Hodges, to see how Bryant is doing.   Hodges said Bryant is doing okay physically, but is scarred emotionally from the ordeal.

“We are disappointed that the Sheriff’s office continues to fail to accept responsibility for the horrific revenge attack on Robert Bryant. We believe that the evidence and the settlement paint a clearer picture than a press release.”

“While we are thrilled for our client, we know that money cannot buy safety for him when he can no longer trust those sworn to protect and serve,” Hodges added.

Our news partners The Huntsville Times/Al.com covered this case extensively.  Bryant’s lawsuit argued the deputies concocted a false account to hide the attack on Bryant and that Sheriff Dorning later learned of the events and did nothing to discipline the officers nor drop the charges.

Dorning said the county’s insurance company settled the case out of court to minimize attorney’s fees, expecting the case would have taken several years.

The Sheriff and deputies’ legal counsel fees were paid by Madison County’s insurance company under the County’s insurance policy.

Prior to the settlement, Bryant had requested a trial by jury.



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