By Emily Tubb
Former Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy and current Hatley Police Chief Eric Sloan has been accused of lying about the location where he was shot last August as part of a federal wrongful arrest lawsuit filed against him and Monroe County by Amory resident Cythia Fuller.
Fuller’s complaint in the suit is to recover actual and punitive damages for arrest and malicious prosecution without probable cause of the Fourth and 14th Amendments.
The lawsuit, filed Jan. 28 by Tupelo attorney Jim Waide in U.S. District Court on behalf of Fuller, claims she was wrongfully arrested May 29, 2013 during a search and drug investigation of the Parkwood Street home in Amory of her former boyfriend, Unseld Parks. Fuller was charged in the case with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell (marijuana) and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Her case was later dismissed in Monroe County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit accuses Sloan of violating Fuller’s Fourth Amendment rights and that her race was a contributing factor thereby violating the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Fuller is African-American.
The filing continues to accuse Sloan of giving false information regarding an Aug. 24, 2015 shooting incident when he claimed to have been shot during a traffic stop on Highway 45 Alternate near Okolona.
The filing claimed Sloan was shot at a home in Nettleton where he was trying to extort $10,000 in stolen money from another woman, Stephanie Herring.
According to the lawsuit, Herring told Monroe County Investigator Rodney Starling, who was investigating a home invasion and burglary of $235,000, that she told Sloan where $80,000 of the stolen money was the day Sloan claims to have been shot by a black man on a motorcycle near Okolona.
When Herring later asked Sloan if he was, in fact, shot at the Nettleton residence where the $80,000 was located and not in Okolona, he took the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer, according to the filing.
Herring passed a polygraph examination administered by the Mississippi Highway Patrol regarding her statements about Sloan’s alleged criminal activities.
The allegations against Sloan were listed as a reason to justify Fuller’s actual and punitive damages. Fuller requests a jury to determine the amount for damages.
Sloan appeared in front of the Monroe County Board of Supervisors last week for an executive session that lasted nearly an hour. When asked if he’d like to give a statement to the accusations, he said, “No comment.”
The county’s insurance company will make the call as to who will represent the county in this undecided event. No venue or date has been set for a potential court appearance. The county has no comment on the case.
A lawsuit is only one side of a legal assessment.