Monday, August 22, 2011

VA: Cops not admitting anything in the Grise case

An answer filed Monday in U.S. District Court denies virtually all claims made by a retired Richmond physician and his wife against a sheriff’s deputy and the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.

Defendants Deputy Ronald T. Allen, former Madison County Sheriff Nelson O’Donnell and the Madison County Sheriff’s Department deny allegations that Dr. William P. Grise, 82, and his wife Mary, 77, were treated maliciously.

Grise filed a federal complaint June 20 “ ... due to (the defendants’) wanton, malicious, intentional and negligent actions, forcibly entering plaintiffs house, without a warrant and without any reasonable justification, injuring plaintiffs and charging, arresting and prosecuting (Dr. Grise) for crimes the plaintiff never committed ... .”

The couple is suing over an incident which reportedly occurred Jan. 2, just one day before O’Donnell left the sheriff’s office and was replaced by the newly elected Sheriff Jerry Combs.

“Earlier in the evening of January 2, 2011, (Grise) had taken one of his empty shotguns in the car to a position of the Parkwood Subdivision Plat (which is owned by the Grises, but subdivided),” the suit reads. He fired two shots into the ground in hopes of quieting a dog which had been barking.

Grise later noticed a car rapidly approaching his home after returning from trying to silence the dog. When Grise saw the car approaching, he put a pistol in his pocket because he had experienced past incidents of lawlessness on his property, the complaint reads.

The lights were that of the police cruiser driven by Allen. The deputy asked Grise if he had fired shots with his shotgun. Grise “... responded that he had shot his gun into the ground, hoping the noise would silence a barking dog,” the suit states.

Allen reportedly followed Grise onto the front porch of his home and asked to search the home. Grise reminded Allen he needed a warrant to search the home, but the deputy tried to get Grise to admit firing the shots was dangerous because of children reportedly playing nearby, according to the complaint.

“When the plaintiff reached the front door, he found that his wife had opened it about ‘a third open,’” it reads. Mary Grise had been very ill and was sick at the time of the incident, and when she stepped back from the door, she fell down, the lawsuit claims. Allen reportedly grabbed William’s arm as he tried to help his wife up from her fall, placing him under arrest.

The deputy searched the home without permission and failed to check on Mary Grise, according to the lawsuit. The Grises demand a jury trial and monetary compensation for attorney’s fees.

The defendants admit William Grise was jailed and charged with alcohol intoxication in a public place, fourth-degree assault and carrying a concealed weapon. They deny that the Grises were battered by the deputy.

The charges against William Grise were deferred for approximately one year pending no further offenses. “... William Grise was ordered to have no possession of firearms with the exception of a shotgun that could only be discharged in self-defense,” the answer states.

The defendants deny almost all claims in the plaintiffs suit, including: William Grise’s wrongful arrest, Grise was not intoxicated at the time of the incident, his wife was not physically injured by William, the plaintiffs had a reasonable ground to believe they were in immediate danger of violence or crime, William never touched the gun in his pocket, they made false statements and omissions to create a pretext for entering the couple’s property, they searched William’s home without a warrant, O’Donnell hired deputies without proper training and Allen was inexperienced and improperly trained.

“... the defendants’ actions were in furtherance of a governmental function in which discretionary acts were performed in good faith with an objectively reasonable belief that their actions were lawful, and the defendants plead and rely upon this defense as a complete bar to all claims of the plaintiffs,” the answer states. “...The plaintiffs’ damages, if any, were directly and proximately cause by the plaintiffs’ negligent and/or intentional actions ... Deputy Allen had probable cause to detain, search, arrest and charge the plaintiff, William Grise.”

The defendants are asking the complaint be dismissed, a monetary reward to cover legal fees and “ ... any and all other relief to which they may appear reasonably entitled.”

Original report here

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