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Arrest of family leads to $72-million lawsuit

An officer who stopped a man for speeding ended up wrongfully arresting and jailing the man’s entire family, mostly for obstruction of justice, according to a lawsuit targeting the police in Saltville.

The lawsuit filed by Larry Jackson describes an officer losing his temper at the Jacksons’ home, arresting one family member after another as they questioned the officer’s claim that Jackson’s son had been driving 97 miles per hour.

The obstruction charges were “bogus and false,” and most were dropped after a circuit court judge viewed the police videotape of the incident, according to the suit. The judge reportedly apologized to the family and admonished the prosecutor for pushing the charges.

“This case is about holding law enforcement officials accountable when they abuse their positions and violate the trust our citizenry places in them,” reads the federal lawsuit filed Oct. 5 by Richmond lawyer Richard Hawkins.

A transcript of the police videotape is filed as an exhibit to the lawsuit.

Jackson’s lawsuit seeks $70 million in compensatory damages and $2.45 million in punitive damages for false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and other claims.

By Peter Vieth

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